Vancouver Canucks: Exploring a Josh Anderson trade

COLUMBUS, OH - APRIL 18: Josh Anderson
COLUMBUS, OH - APRIL 18: Josh Anderson /
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With Josh Anderson reportedly requesting a trade, the Vancouver Canucks may want to see if they can make a deal for the young and talented scorer.

The Vancouver Canucks are slowly crafting together a foundation of youth and gifted players, as they try to return to Stanley Cup contention. Thus far, general manager Jim Benning has done a solid job.

To go along with Bo Horvat, Benning was able to trade for Markus Granlund and Sven Baertschi, signed NCAA free agent Troy Stecher and drafted both Olli Juolevi and Elias Pettersson, who hopefully turn out as franchise cornerstones.

But obviously, Benning is capable of adding more to the roster. An ideal target would be Columbus Blue Jackets forward Josh Anderson, who, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, has requested a trade:

"Josh Anderson, who remains unsigned eight days before the Columbus Blue Jackets begin their regular season, has requested a trade from the NHL club, although the club says that has not been conveyed to them."

For what it’s worth, general manager Jarmo Kekalainen (via Friedman), said he had no intention to trade Anderson. But with a deal unsigned and the regular season a week away, the Jackets may have to move quickly.

According to Aaron Portzline from The Athletic (via Friedman), Anderson and Columbus are “as little as $150,000 per year (apart) on a three-year contract — but both sides are standing firm on principle.”

So let’s go ahead and assume the Blue Jackets begin to shop Anderson. Should Benning make a play for him, and what would the cost be?

What Anderson would bring

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Anderson was one of the many Blue Jackets who surprised in 2017 under head coach John Tortorella. He scored 17 goals and 29 points in what was his first full NHL season. Anderson helped the Jackets set a franchise record with 108 points.

Anderson brings nice size (6-3, 221 pounds). His game is comparable to that of fellow Canuck right winger Jake Virtanen (6-1, 229 pounds).

But there is a big weakness in Anderson’s game — puck possession.

His Corsi For percentage in 2016-17 was a mere 46.2, and the Canucks are trying to improve that aspect of the game. But perhaps those numbers would improve with Horvat or the Sedin twins?

It’s hard to know exactly what type of player Anderson will be. He did better than expected in his rookie year, but the 2012 fourth rounder has to show he can score consistently. For all, all we know is he’s a big scoring winger. The Canucks have that already in Boeser and hopefully Virtanen.

Worth the price?

The price for a young forward (with plenty of upside), has been expensive in recent years. The Montreal Canadiens had to surrender top blueliner prospect Mikhail Sergachev and a second round pick for Jonathan Drouin.

Back in 2011, the Ottawa Senators gave up another elite prospect in David Rundblad (who never panned out), and a second rounder to acquire disgruntled centre Kyle Turris. And in 2015, the Blue Jackets had to trade four players (including prospect Marko Dano), and talented centre Artem Anisimov, along with a draft pick, to land Brandon Saad from the Chicago Blackhawks.

So as you can see, it takes a lot to acquire a young scorer, who has plenty of potential but hasn’t played that long in the NHL.

It’s safe to say if Anderson is shopped, the Blue Jackets would be looking at a young, talented forward plus at least a second round pick. Their asking price could include a player like Virtanen or Nikolay Goldobin, plus a draft choice.

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That would be too much of a risk for Benning and the Canucks to take. Given their depth at right wing in Sam Gagner, Virtanen and Boeser, Anderson wouldn’t help Vancouver out that much. So at the end of the day, Benning may be better off staying away from a possible Anderson trade.