After the Los Angeles Kings’ slow start to the season, the team has now won five consecutive games. This is even more impressive given the major injuries the team has dealt with, specifically concerning their blue line. Sean Walker is out for the season and franchise defenseman Drew Doughty is also sidelined.
The Kings have needed other players to step up in their absence, and Mikey Anderson has had an outstanding start to the season. However, LA’s fourth-round selection from 2017 has yet to record a point. With his stellar play, it is unlikely that he will remain off the scoresheet for long.
Anderson Has Played a Stellar Game So Far This Season
To start the season, Anderson has recorded some very respectable numbers as far as his advanced stats go. The Kings have been expected to control the puck more than their opponent and outscore their opponent with him on the ice; he has put up a 54.49 Corsi for percentage (CF%) and 60.01 expected goals for percentage (xGF%).
Anderson has also shown an expected goals for per 60 rate (xGF/60) of 2.94 — fifth on the Kings — and an expected goals against per 60 rate (xGA/60) of 1.96 — also fifth on the team. Overall, he has been a very dependable player on both sides of the puck. This is further demonstrated by his regularized adjusted plus/minus (RAPM) chart. The chart shows his goals for per 60 rate (GF/60), xGF/60, Corsi for per 60 rate (CF/60), xGA/60, and Corsi against per 60 rate (CA/60) relative to the performance of other defensemen.
What’s most impressive about Anderson’s play so far this season is his overall contribution to the Kings. Wins above replacement (WAR) tracks the wins a player provides to his team over that of a replacement-level player. He has recorded 0.6 WAR so far to lead the team, and he will look to continue to add even more value as the season progresses.
Putting the statistics aside, Anderson is a player that contributes more than just his skill on the ice. He has developed outstanding communication during his shifts, which is rare for a player that is as young as he is. Doughty spoke on these skills and how much he enjoys playing with Anderson prior to opening night:
He talks a lot. All of the d-men that I’ve had a good relationship with are talking with each other. I think even you guys up in the press box can hear us, me and Mikey talk so well. For a young guy to do that, so early in his career…most of them don’t do that, and there are a lot of veteran players who still don’t do that. For him to talk to me, talk to other players on the ice, I can’t even explain how much of a help that is and I love playing with Mikey.Doughty on Anderson.
The individual skill of a player is one thing, but the chemistry with other players on the team is just as important. Anderson has progressed to become an integral part of the Kings’ blue line through a combination of how well he plays with others and his reliable game.
Kings Fans Should Expect To See Points From Anderson Soon
While Anderson has never been known to be an offensive powerhouse, all signs point to him getting on the board soon. As long as he continues to play the dependable game he has been through the first month of the season, there is no reason that he should stay without a point.
Once Doughty returns from injury, the Kings’ D-core will be looking much better, especially if the team can get some offense from other defensemen, such as Anderson. LA has dug themselves out of the hole they put themselves in to start the season, and some points from outside of the top-six would go a long way in making the team’s playoff dreams a reality.
Advanced Stats per Evolving-Hockey
Zackary Weiner is a high school student from New York City who covers the Los Angeles Kings here at The Hockey Writers. He is a lifelong hockey fan and player, and his previous experience includes writing articles about the NHL for various online publications. His articles cover a wide variety of topics that concern the Kings and he takes into account a range of viewpoints, making his articles a perfect read for anyone who wants to stay up to date on the team. Zackary is more than happy to get into a conversation with fellow Kings fans, so feel free to leave a comment below any of his articles like this one to let him know your opinion and what you want to see next. You can also listen to him talk about the team on Fantasy Hockey Life and The Hockey Writers Live.