Montreal Canadiens sign Lias Anderson to one-year deal

Montreal Canadiens signed Lias Anderson to a one-year, two-way contract worth $775,000. His American Hockey League (AHL) salary for the upcoming season is $450,000. his new deal This is also a two-way contract, That is, his salary depends on whether he is in the NHL or the AHL.

Anderson provides additional center depth to the Canadiens. He will likely spend most of the upcoming season with the Laval Rockets, the AHL affiliate of the Canadiens. He is a good two-way forward who has struggled to find his offensive game at the NHL level.

Anderson’s shaky NHL career

Anderson was originally drafted seventh overall in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft by the New York Rangers. The 6-foot-1-inch Swedish centerman was highly praised in his draft year for his two-way game, competitiveness and leadership. Since then, he has failed to be a consistent NHL player. Since being drafted, he has bounced between the NHL, AHL, and the Swedish Hockey League (SHL). He played in only 66 games for the Rangers, scoring three goals and six assists for nine points.

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The Rangers traded Andersen to the Los Angeles Kings for a second-round pick in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, 60th overall, and forward Will Kuiley with the pick. Cuylle has appeared in four NHL games for the Rangers, scoring zero points. The Kings took a gamble on Anderson, hoping that a change in landscape would help him rediscover the skill and drive that made him a top ten pick in 2017. Since the trade, Anderson has played in just 44 games with the Kings, scoring four goals and four assists in that time. He was three years removed from his draft year at the time of the trade, so a bet on the forward made sense for the Kings.

Lias Anderson New York Rangers
Lias Anderson, New York Rangers, November 23, 2018 (amy irwin / hockey writer)

Ultimately, the Kings’ bet on Anderson did not work out, but he played well with their AHL affiliate, the Ontario Reign. He had a tremendous season in the AHL last year, appearing in 67 regular season games and scoring 31 goals and 28 assists for 59 points. In two playoff games with Rennes, he had two goals and one assist for three points. He has been a dominant AHL player, scoring 43 goals and 39 assists for 82 points in 86 games in his three seasons with the Reign. This is surprising compared to his career NHL totals; In 110 games between the Rangers and the Kings, he only scored 17 points.

Anderson’s Fit With the Canadiens

Anderson provided the Canadiens with affordable center depth for the 2023–24 season. If he can use the confidence he gained from his last season with the Reign, he could become a good part-time contributor for the Canadiens. At the very least, he’s an excellent addition to the Rockets while also being a serviceable call-up when injuries hit. There is little chance that he will become a full-time NHL player this upcoming season. However, that result would tell more about the Canadiens’ depth than their emergence as NHLers.

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