Our seventh annual Top 25 Under 25 countdown has begun! The rankings were determined by a combination of reader voting and our staff’s own voting. We then combined the reader rankings and the staff rankings to determine the top 25. To be eligible for the countdown, a player must be 24 or younger on October 2, 2019, when the 2019-20 NHL season begins.
Who are your hockey crushes? Who are the players who you need to root for no matter what team they play on? Maybe it’s the player who is the toughest, or the fastest, or maybe you just can’t quite explain why but you will follow their career closely.
Thanks for asking! It’s Seth Jones.
They have a prospect who has demonstrated a sound defensive game while having an innate ability join the rush and create dangerous plays from seemingly out of nothing; a player who is able to step in from off the screen and calm down the play of the opposing team.
The Kings have Mikey Anderson.
Both players come with impressive athletic pedigrees. Anderson’s brother, Joey, is a Devils prospect and was the United States’ captain for the 2018 World Junior Championship. Jones’ father is former NBA player Popeye Jones, currently an assistant coach with the Indiana Pacers.
Each player has demonstrated success and leadership at the amateur level. Mikey Anderson has won a Bronze and Silver Medal at the WJC, captaining the latter team, and has been a key piece of back-to-back NCAA championships for the Minnesota–Duluth Bulldogs. Seth Jones served as an alternate captain for the USA’s Gold medal run in 2013, the same year he was a key component of the Portland Winterhawks WHL championship team.
There are, however, obvious differences between the two players. Jones is taller and has a long stride when skating. Anderson is four inches shorter but it is still a rangy skater. Jones is a superior puck handler. He can create plays from the blueline that lead to dangerous chances. From my watching Anderson on TV during the Frozen Four and WJC last year, Anderson creates his offense by taking advantage of any space the opposing team gives him to drive the net and create plays closer to the net.
It seems like everyone expects Anderson to start the year with Ontario and possibly earn a call up to the Kings as the year progresses. There is a myriad of talented defense slated to be on the Reign’s roster this year. Anderson has an opportunity to set himself apart early in the year, especially if the recoveries of Derek Forbort and Paul LaDue take any extra time.
Blake shared Forbort has a back issue that should keep him off the ice at the start of camp. LaDue’s knee procedure may keep him limited for the first day or two.— Jon Rosen (@lakingsinsider) August 31, 2019
There is good reason to be excited about an all-around defenseman who has demonstrated success and leadership heading into his first pro season.