News broke late Saturday evening that the Toronto Maple Leafs had completed a trade involving Andreas Johnsson with the return being forward Joey Anderson. While many people may have been surprised, general manager Kyle Dubas did indeed hint that they were not done doing business. Although this was a cap dump in every sense of the word, Dubas still managed to acquire a skilled player who could benefit the Leafs lineup in the near future.
What Maple Leafs Are Getting in Anderson
While some people may not have heard of Anderson before the trade, he has a lot of potential that he has yet to tap into. Starting out by playing for the United States National Team Development Program U17 Team in 2014-15 where he accumulated 42 points in 55 games. He garnered attention heading into his draft year and ultimately showed he could have an NHL future.
In his draft year, Anderson managed to collect 57 points in 64 games with the USNTDP U18 team and was ultimately selected by the New Jersey Devils in the third round (73rd overall) of the 2016 NHL Draft.
Anderson plays the game the right way. Whether the coaching staff needs him to protect the lead at the end of the game or kill a penalty, he is always willing to do what is required. He gives it his all whenever he steps out on the ice.
Anderson has shown he has offensive potential as well. Over the past two seasons in the American Hockey League with the Binghamton Devils, he has continued to grow his game and managed to collect 34 points in 44 games this past season.
What impresses me the most about Anderson’s game is the fact that he never oversimplifies things. He is good at getting to the front of the net and will go up against bigger opponents to gain positioning. He goes hard in the corners and can set up his teammates from along the half wall.
Anderson is no slouch in the defensive zone either. When the puck transitions the other way, he uses his skating ability to help on the backcheck and uses his stick to break up passing lanes. He is not afraid to battle hard in the corners to retrieve the puck and is a skillful penalty killer as well.
Where Anderson Fits in the Lineup
Anderson will have the chance to become a regular in the Leafs lineup in the near future. While he has immense untapped skills, he still needs to work on his overall game and the Leafs will have a lot of competition for the bottom two lines this upcoming training camp.
With veterans such as Wayne Simmonds, Jason Spezza and Alex Kerfoot all locks to be in the lineup, it will be very stiff competition. Pierre Engvall showed he could handle the NHL last season although his production cooled before the pandemic hit. Nick Robertson has the chance to make the lineup. The coaching staff clearly enjoyed what he brought to the table and I think will get a long look in training camp. Lastly, while Jimmy Vesey has struggled since he entered the NHL, he still has potential and will most likely seize a spot as well.
Even if Anderson doesn’t make the Leafs out of training camp, he will get a good chance to play a big role on the Toronto Marlies. With the likely departure of players such as Jeremy Bracco, there are open spots for the taking and he has proven that he can play a big role in the AHL. Time will tell how much of an impact he will have but Anderson has the chance to be a solid impactful player for the Leafs.