Our annual Top 25 Under 25 countdown is rolling right along! The rankings were determined by a combination of reader voting and our staff’s own voting. We then combined the reader rankings (50%) and the staff rankings (50%) to determine the top 25. To be eligible for the countdown, a player must be 24 or younger on October 5, 2017, when the 2017-18 NHL season begins.
We’re taking a look at the best and the brightest in the Los Angeles Kings organization in our fifth annual Top 25 Under 25 countdown. Moving on to #17: Mikey Anderson.
2016-17 Team: Waterloo Blackhawks (USHL)
2016-17 Statistics: 54 GP, 5 G, 29 A, 34 P (USHL)
Current NHL Projection (via NHLe): Not available for USHL prospects
Jewels Reader Ranking: 20
Jewels Staff Ranking: 13
Selected in the fourth round of this year’s draft, Mikey Anderson’s another Minnestoa-bred defenseman heading off to college this year, though rather than Kings Favorite St. Cloud State, Anderson will be making his debut at the University of Minnesota-Duluth this season after two years with the USHL’s Waterloo Black Hawks.
The just-around-6-foot defenseman is most often described as a “throwback” style of defenseman -- good defensive skills, still working on honing his offense. Over two seasons in the USHL, he’s put up six goals and 44 assists. Not huge numbers, but his steady increase in both assists, and overall points, from high school hockey to the USHL, shows growth as a player, and that he has the hockey IQ to get the puck in a good position, even if he’s not always picking up the goal tally.
While his offensive game is still a work in progress, Anderson has been improving his all-around game in Waterloo, frequently playing more than 30 minutes in a game, and spending some time on their power play unit. He’s attracted some notice from USA Hockey, playing at the Ivan Hlinka tournament and on the U19 squad which won the Junior A Challenge in December. He also skated in five games for the US in this years’ World Juniors Summer Showcase.
Champions walk together forever! pic.twitter.com/S4deIpI1CE— Mikey Anderson (@miklovin8) December 18, 2016
Anderson is most frequently described as a physical, aggressive player -- who apparently knows how to play just on the right side of the line, given his relatively low PIMs for the league (52 minutes in 54 games last season). Most scouting reports tend to say the same thing about Anderson: reliable, not flashy, a little bit of grit, a work in progress.
He’ll have the time to grow his game at UMD, where he’ll be reunited with his older brother Joe, who is a Devils prospect. As a young defenseman on a team that’s needed to restock its blue line, he may be handed a fair bit of responsibility right off the bat. He plays a simple game, but being defensively sound is going to keep him in favor both in college and, eventually, in the pros.