2018-19 Player Review: Josh Anderson makes a big impact
BJA lit up the scoreboard
Every evenin’ at Nationwide you could see him have fun
He stood six-foot-three and weighed two-twenty-one
Kinda broad at the shoulder and thick at the hip
And everybody knew ya didn’t give no lip to Big Josh (Big Josh)
Big Bad Josh (Big Josh)
(That’s one for the old timers here)
In his first full season with the Columbus Blue Jackets, Josh Anderson played on a checking line, with flashes here and there of offensive ability. In year two, he moved up to the top line and was highly productive with Artemi Panarin and Pierre-Luc Dubois (the “PBJ Line”) until missing 19 games with injury. This season saw a return to a checking role, but also his most prolific offensive season yet. He scored 27 goals and 20 assists, each eight better than his previous highs. And he did not miss a single game.
Arguably the high point of his career to date came in the postseason, as he was a one man wrecking crew against the Tampa Bay Lightning. His highly aggressive forecheck did wonders to throw the Bolts off their game - and he got under their skins, too. They could not recover.
In the Boston series, however, this strategy was not as effective. The physical game fit how the Bruins wanted to play. At the same time, Anderson seemed more eager to hit than to shoot the puck, at a time when the Jackets struggled to create 5v5 chances (his 22 penalty minutes led the team, but his 23 shots on goal were only sixth).
Josh Anderson 2018-19 Stats
Games Played: 82
Time on ice: 17:01
Penalty minutes: 60
Corsi For (Even strength): 49.8%
Games Played: 10
Time on ice: 16:59
Penalty minutes: 22
Corsi For (Even strength): 41.7%
Anderson is entering the final year of a three year contract with an annual cap hit of $1.85 million. That is an absolute steal for his production, and it’s easy to see why it took him sitting out the entire 2018 preseason before finally signing. If it was a “show me” deal from the Jackets’ perspective, I think it’s fair to say Anderson has shown them what he’s capable of. Expect the next contract to be worth a lot more, and hopefully the negotiations are much less contentious. Anderson will still be an RFA when the contract expires, but with arbitration rights.
In Game 1 against Tampa Bay, the Blue Jackets’ comeback began with Anderson assisting on Nick Foligno’s goal. The comeback was completed with an impressive shorthanded goal by Anderson to tie the game.
No goals and only one assist on 15 shots on goal in the six games of the second round. The offense relies on Anderson to contribute more than that.
How would you grade Josh Anderson’s 2018-19 season?