The biggest question facing the Columbus Blue Jackets this offseason is what to do with forward Josh Anderson. Anderson had a career year in 2018-19, scoring 27 goals and 20 assists in a full 82 game season. He then was a dominant force in the first round sweep of the Tampa Bay Lightning. He injured his shoulder in the second round series against the Boston Bruins, which left less than 100% at the start of this season. His lethal shot failed him (only 1.6% shooting this season), he missed much of October to nurse the shoulder, and then saw his season end prematurely in December due to another shoulder injury.
Anderson had surgery on his shoulder in March, and was skating with the team in the Toronto bubble during the playoffs. Per GM Jarmo Kekalainen, he would have played if they advanced to the second round.
What’s next? Despite speculation all season from The Athletic’s Aaron Portzline that a past contentious negotation made Anderson unwilling to re-sign here, the latest word from his camp is that Anderson remains interested in a long term deal:
Ferris, in a recent text message exchange with The Athletic, reiterated the desire for a long-term deal, and he dismissed the notion that having a new voice on the Blue Jackets’ side of the table (Flynn) would make contract talks easier.
“There is a misplaced opinion on the temperature of negotiations with CBJ out there,” Ferris wrote. “That’s the social-media world we live in, I guess. This is the business side, and there will be discussions and no animosity as some would try to make people believe.
“One thing I know: Josh would like to be in (Columbus) for a long time.”
Kekäläinen has made it clear, too, that he’d love to keep Anderson in the union blue for many years to come. When he’s at the top of his game, there are very few players in the NHL who combine size and speed like Anderson.
“We love him,” Kekäläinen said. “We think he’s been a big part of our success, and we’ll make every effort to get him signed. But it has to be something that makes sense for both sides.
Josh Anderson 2019-20 Stats
Games Played: 26
5v5 CF%: 47.4
5v5 FF%: 49.1
Anderson has reached the end of a three year, $5.55 million contract he signed right at the start of the season in 2017, after missing all of training camp and preseason while the contract negotiations dragged out. He is now a restricted free agent.
If a new contract is not signed before the start of free agency, the Blue Jackets will need to make a qualifying offer of $2.1 million. Anderson can accept that, or reject the offer and opt for arbitration instead. Either of those scenarios would keep Anderson a Jacket for the 2020-21 season, then an unrestricted free agent in the 2021 offseason.
On October 26, 2019, the Blue Jackets traveled to Philadelphia for their first game against the Flyers. Anderson assisted on Boone Jenner’s tying goal late in the second period, then added a goal of his own early in the third to cushion the lead. Then the Blue Jackets gave up five unanswered. Nevertheless, it was Anderson’s only goal and only multi-point game.
On December 14, 2019 in Ottawa, Anderson’s season came to an abrupt end. Was it worth it, to end the last season of your contract by injuring yourself fighting over a legal (albeit awkward) hit?
How would you grade Josh Anderson’s 2019-20 season?
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What will happen with Anderson this offseason?
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Re-signed to a short term deal
Re-signed to a long term deal