4. Josh Anderson
Josh Anderson is in the midst of a breakout season for the Columbus Blue Jackets, and it seems like it won’t be long before his contract is the biggest steal in the NHL. While that status may only last a year, following next season Anderson will almost certainly get a massive pay raise from his current cap hit of $1.85M.
Last year, Anderson set a career high with 19 goals in 63 games. This season, he’s on pace to shatter that number as he has already scored 12 in just 28 games. He’s on pace for roughly a total of 36 goals and while it’s unlikely he scores that many, he could almost certainly reach 25 by the end of the season.
On top of his offensive contributions, Anderson is one of the most physical players on the Blue Jackets. He’s their main form of protection from players like Tom Wilson who try to wreak havoc on their opposition.
Anderson’s contract goes through next season, but after that he remains a restricted free agent meaning that the Blue Jackets will more likely than not retain his rights. Many people questioned how much the team gave up to protect Anderson from the expansion draft considering William Karlsson‘s success with the Vegas Golden Knights last season, but it seems as if it will pay off as the right move in the long term.
Josh Anderson may not be a top line guy, but he certainly brings an unmatched work ethic and depth scoring while maintaining a physical presence.