The Blue Jackets prepare to take on the Montreal Canadiens tonight in a matchup of two teams struggling to find points in the standings. The Canadiens feature two prominent former Blue Jackets on their roster: free agent signee defenseman David Savard; and forward Josh Anderson, who was acquired from the Blue Jackets two years ago via trade. Today we’ll revisit that trade.
Originally selected in the 4th round (#95 overall) at the 2012 NHL Draft, Josh Anderson slowly emerged from depth player in the OHL, to top-six forward with the London Knights, in the two years after the Jackets took a chance on him. In his draft year he scored 12 goals and 22 points; but followed that up with a 23 goal, 49 point effort in 2012-13, then setting OHL career-highs with 27 goals and 51 points in just 59 games during his final OHL season.
Anderson turned pro for the 2014-15 season and would be allowed to develop slowly, spending the bulk of his first two pro seasons in the AHL. He was a key part of the 2016 Calder Cup run by the then-Lake Erie Monsters, alongside a handful of other future Jackets.
The following fall, Anderson made the Jackets and quickly became a fan favorite. At 6-3 and over 220 pounds, he stood out on the ice because of his rare combination of size, speed, physicality, and finishing ability. His first full season in the NHL was outstanding – he scored 17 goals, 29 points, and added 81 penalty minutes in 78 games played.
He broke out in a big way in 2018-19, scoring 27 goals and 47 points – while maintaining a +25 rating for the Jackets. Josh seemed like he was emerging as an important part of the core in Columbus – especially after the mass exodus of players in the summer of 2019.
Unfortunately, injuries caught up with him and the following season, he was only able to skate in 26 games for the team before a contract dispute, prompting his trade. Over the course of his Jackets career, Anderson would go on to score 65 goals and 115 points in 267 games played.