After holding out of Columbus Blue Jackets training camp in 2017, and a stagnant and rough 2017-18 season, Josh Anderson looks like he is poised for a breakout season.
The young forward returns for his third year permanently on the big club, where the hope is he can remain healthy. Josh Anderson last season was expected by many Columbus Blue Jackets fans to be the missing piece on the top line right wing that the Jackets were looking for to replace Brandon Saad.
After having a 29 point (17G, 12A) rookie campaign in 2016-17, Anderson was looking to improve his statistics and play going forward. While he eclipsed his rookie season totals by one point, Anderson did not breakout like many Jackets fans were hoping.
Anderson put up 30 points (19G, 11A) in his sophomore season. While sidelined for a portion of the season with a lower-body injury, the first half of the season looked promising for the second year forward.
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Averaging 14:22 time on ice, the Jackets have had a 50.1% in Corsi-for while Anderson is on their ice during his career. Last season Anderson had 42 penalty minutes, good enough for 3rd on the team behind Pierre-Luc Dubois, and captain Nick Foligno. The year prior, Anderson racked up 89 penalty minutes.
Anderson scored the overtime winning against the Calgary Flames on November 22nd, showing Jackets fans a glimpse at the kind of gritty goals Anderson can put up if healthy. Showing great signs of consistent play, Anderson was a bright spot for the Jackets, until his injury.
Anderson is not shy to throw the body around. At 6’ 3” and 223lb, Josh Anderson has been noted as a modern day grinding forward. Similar to Brandon Dubinsky, when Josh Anderson is playing at his level of consistency that he has shown flashes of, he can be the key missing piece to a top six lineup.
When returning to the lineup come playoff time, Anderson was once again using his big frame on the ice. He was ejected from the first game of the Washington Capitals playoff series for a boarding call when he hit Michal Kempny behind the net. There was no further disciplinary action taken.
In six playoff games last season, Anderson put in one goal, two assists in their first round loss to the Capitals. The previous year, Anderson only put one goal, one assist in against the Penguins.
This upcoming season, Anderson looks to be slotted in on the third line with Brandon Dubinsky and Boone Jenner. Two players who are also looking to have bounce back years.
Dubinsky has been training the hardest he has in years, which should give Anderson a huge boost from his new center feeding him the puck. Boone Jenner is also looking to have a return to former production.
If Anderson can stay on the ice, even without power play time, Dubinsky and Jenner can set him up to increase his goal total which came from a majority of switching around on lines. Meaning on the other side, having Dubinsky and Jenner to feed, Anderson can continue to mount on his assist totals which have remained consistent.
If Dubinsky isn’t the third line center, Riley Nash would be the likely replacement. That would be even better for Anderson’s production this season.
Anderson has yet to play a full 82 games in a season thus far. Having played 78 his rookie year, and 63 his sophomore season, the hope is to have Anderson suiting up all year. If Anderson stays healthy, this could be the season Anderson breaks the 40-point mark.