By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
When it came to power forward Josh Anderson, the Boston Bruins were delivered a swift and undeniable kick to the junk.
On the block by the Blue Jackets after a disappointing, injury-shortened 2019-20 campaign, it didn’t take long for a trade to materialize, with the then-Columbus winger sent to the Canadiens in exchange for forward Max Domi. The Canadiens and Anderson then almost immediately agreed to a seven-year, $38.5 million extension.
But, again, if you were the B’s, that stung beyond the obvious.
According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, the Bruins were among those who ‘badly wanted’ to acquire the 26-year-old Anderson before the Habs swung in and completed the deal.
Boston’s interest makes all the sense in the world. At 6-foot-3, and after a 2018-19 season that featured 27 goals and over 200 hits, Anderson seemed like the in-prime winger the Bruins have longed for since parting with David Krejci fits such as Nathan Horton (2013), Jarome Iginla (2014), and Milan Lucic (2015).
Even after that aforementioned injury-plagued season, which led to just one goal and three helpers in 26 games played, Anderson was certainly their kind of player.
But they lost out on him all the same, and to the Canadiens, with Marc Bergevin willing to bet big on Anderson.
“Anderson was resolute in his belief: a one-year contract walking himself to free agency, or the max,” Friedman wrote. “Columbus had the hammer the last time his contract was up — this time the leverage was his. That’s one of the reasons the Blue Jackets made the trade, and he did not change his mind for Montreal.”
In addition to shelling out nearly $40 million, the Canadiens also parted with Domi to complete the deal. The 24-year-old Domi finished last season as Montreal’s third-leading scorer, with 44 points in 71 games, and signed a two-year, $10.6 million deal upon landing with the Jackets.
Was there a B’s comp to such a package?
The obvious answer, at least off the jump, would be Jake DeBrusk. The Blue Jackets have been looking at upgrading their left-wing position (really since Artemi Panarin bolted to New York last offseason), and DeBrusk has top-six experience. In fact, the 23-year-old DeBrusk equaled Anderson’s output two seasons ago, with 27 goals in 68 games in 2018-19. And DeBrusk, like Domi, was in need of a new deal, and would’ve cost the Jackets less than Anderson demanded.
But if the Bruins were acquiring Anderson, it was likely to pair him with DeBrusk and Krejci on Boston’s second line. In essence, this would’ve been creating a top-six hole in an attempt to address a top-six hole.
No matter the hypothetical package, it ultimately doesn’t matter, because the Bruins were beat the punch by the Habs.
Something that’ll come with a seven-year effect that the B’s will get to experience within the division.