Columbus Blue Jackets: The Case for Josh Anderson on the Top Line

COLUMBUS, OH - NOVEMBER 21: Josh Anderson
COLUMBUS, OH - NOVEMBER 21: Josh Anderson /

We all know who the Columbus Blue Jackets top center and left wing will be. As training camp approaches, there is an interesting case for each right wing to play on the first line.

A 23-year old from Burlington, Ontario, Josh Anderson is coming off his first full season in the NHL. Anderson isn’t the Columbus Blue Jackets most skilled right winger, but he’s still a candidate to get top line minutes.

Still young with room to grow, Anderson took many strides in improving his game last year. His physical presence is no secret, but don’t overlook his offensive abilities.

After a massive blow to Evgeni Malkin in the playoffs, we know that Josh Anderson is (probably) the strongest player in the league.

Besides his physical ability, here’s what else makes Anderson a candidate for the top line:

Goal scoring

He isn’t a sniper, yet Anderson has a sneaky ability to get on the score sheet. He only scored 29 points last season, but 17 of them were goals.

Notably, no points of his were scored on the power play. His numbers weren’t bad at all for someone in their first full season. His numbers will only grow if he plays alongside Alexander Wennberg and Artemi Panarin.

His ability to score combined with the physicality provides a great opportunity for balance on the first line. Wennberg, Panarin and Anderson would be a dynamic combination.

Solid defense

He isn’t the fastest skater, but Josh Anderson is always hustling. This, along with his size, will allow him to match up well with other top lines in the league.

Last season, Anderson finished with a 12 +/- rating. His defensive abilities will only grow as he gets more ice time, and John Tortorella won’t let him slack on the back end. Anderson’s defensive game won’t keep him from playing on the top line.

No contract? No problem

Even though he still isn’t signed, Josh Anderson will be a Blue Jacket this fall. Expect the deal to get done before training camp.

Next: Blue Jackets Sign Doyle Somerby

The possibility of a holdout is slim to none. Anderson will be a force to reckon with in Columbus for years to come.