Rumor: Habs and Leafs both targetting 'big, strong, heavy,' forward.

Big body drawing interest from two Canadian teams.


A trade rumor that first gained steam all the way back during the 2017 - 2018 National Hockey League regular season has come back to the forefront in the past few days and it seems to be gaining some steam on top of it.

Rumblings first began over the week end when Sportsnet's NHL insider Nick Kypreos touched on the deteriorating situation between 24 year old forward Josh Anderson and the Columbus Blue Jackets organization. The fact that Anderson has not been happy in Columbus has been one of the worst kept secrets in the league up until now and there's a belief that a clash between Anderson and head coach John Tortorella may be the root cause of the issues. The particularly interesting part of Kypreos' comments on the week-end however was the indication that the Montreal Canadiens and the Toronto Maple Leafs both have interest in the young forward.

“Interesting, he started the game on the weekend on the fourth line,” said Krypreos as per Nichols on Hockey.. “He’s a big, strong, heavy guy. There is no trade request yet from Josh Anderson, but clearly he’s unhappy. Two teams that have always shown interest in Josh Anderson in the past - Toronto and the Montreal Canadiens.”

The Canadiens make a lot of sense, the organization is currently in the process of retooling or rebuilding their line up and the biggest changes have all been made to their core group of forwards. There's been plenty of talk in recent weeks that Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin is attempting to trade veteran forward Andrew Shaw and if that proved to be successful it could open up a spot in the core forward group for the young Anderson.  At just 24 years of age Anderson could be a long term option for the Habs and given how much younger their forwards have gotten this year the value of that can not be understated. In spite of the fact that Anderson has fallen to the 4th line on the Blue Jackets roster however I do not think that this will be an easy player to pry away from the Blue Jackets organization.

The interest from the Maple Leafs however is far more curious and really leaves you scratching your head when you consider the log jam the organization currently has at the forward position. Even with William Nylander out of the line up the Leafs forward group has felt fairly solid and fairly deep as well, the addition of Anderson here doesn't make a ton of sense to me from the outside looking in. Toronto's forwards are also quite young however and perhaps the Leafs would look to move one of their older forwards to accommodate Anderson should the opportunity present itself. 

TSN insider Darren Dreger was asked on Monday if he could confirm the report from Kypreos, and he admitted that he could not one way or the other.

“No, I can’t,” indicated Dreger. “And that stuff surfaces on a semi-regular basis. Josh Anderson is one of those players that I don’t know if he doesn’t fit the eye of John Tortorella, or whatever it is. But you remember was it a year ago there was a stalemate there, and there were all kind of trade rumors percolating around the National Hockey League. I recall at that point Toronto being in that, in the sense that Toronto was being speculated as having considerable interest. And that’s likely where that’s generating from now.

“He’s a good player, so all teams would be interested providing there was a way to make this happen. “

If Anderson really is in the dog house this one may happen sooner rather than later.