In fact, even at just 26, Dvorak is the oldest statesman on the team for all intents and purposes. Jake Evans is the same age, but a few months younger for the record and far from what you would call a grizzled veteran with experience to draw on. Ditto for Nick Suzuki at only 23 years old. Can the Habs really afford to trade Dvorak like a dump, with no one like him coming back to Montreal?
In the end, Dvorak is not the redundancy that some claim he is. The argument for keeping him in the fold reflects how tightly the Canadiens had to meet their needs at center during the draft. Maybe they did with Dach, but even though the Habs know with 100 per cent certainty that he will become the rather special center Hughes has told the media he hopes the young forward develops into , they still need Dvorak.
Maybe Dvorak isn’t the second-line center many, including ex-GM Marc Bergevin, thought the Canadiens were getting. However, he is an adequate mid-six having scored 33 points in 56 games last season, at a career-best 0.59 points per game.
That means Dvorak’s value is pretty high, especially with three seasons remaining on his contract at a respectable cap of $4.45 million. However, all of this really means the Habs, due to their cap issues, should seriously consider keeping profitable deals like his, as they are unlikely to become an issue down the road.
The case for the Canadiens to trade Anderson
Ideally, the Canadiens would trade Paul Byron or Evgeny Dadonov, who are pending unrestricted free agents (UFAs), or Mike Hoffman, who hasn’t proven himself to be the power-play boon the Canadiens have much needed. However, there may not be any takers for any of these offers, at least not until the next trade deadline and especially not until the season when teams are still determining their rosters and their own ceiling situations. The same goes for Jonathan Drouin, who is aiming for a decent goal at the next trade deadline, once he’s had a chance to increase his value over the course of a contract season.
Therefore, the Canadiens may have to consider trading Josh Anderson, who meets all the necessary criteria:
- Grand cap reached ($5.5 million)
- In high demand in the NHL
- Under contract until 2027, when he will be 33 and likely in decline
Obviously, there’s no denying that Anderson is a valuable asset. As a power forward capable of scoring more than 20 goals in a season, the Canadiens might find some use for him in the immediate future, but how about five years from now when the Canadiens are looking to challenge for the Stanley Cup?