Ever year the NHL Draft seems to have a few familiar names taken by NHL organizations. One such player likely to be drafted is Michael Anderson, the brother of Devils prospect, Joey Anderson. Michael is a quality prospect in his own right, though a defenseman, unlike his brother. Let's get to know more about Michael and where he may be selected this June.
Who is Michael Anderson?
Michael Anderson, more commonly referred to as Mikey Anderson, is a left handed defenseman eligible for this year's draft and the brother of current New Jersey Devils prospect, Joey Anderson. According to his USHL player page, the 6'0, 196 lbs. defender calls Roseville, Minnesota home and was born on 5/25/1999. As you will see from his stats below, courtesy of Elite Prospects, the defenseman played his high school hockey at the Hill-Murray School in Maplewood, Minnesota and a bit with Team Northeast in the elite high school hockey league for the region. More recently he's spent the past two seasons with the Waterloo Black Hawks of the USHL and he will be attending the University of Minnesota-Duluth to play college hockey with his older brother. Let's take a look at his basic stats below:
Anderson spent the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons with the Hill-Murray School playing in the very competitive Minnesota high school hockey scene. He played in 25 games in both of those seasons but saw his production nearly double from 6 points as a freshman to 11 points as a sophomore. Anderson was also solid contributor to Team Northeast in the 2014-15 season with 12 points in 19 games, good for a top 10 spot on the scoring list on the team. Anderson made the jump to junior hockey with the Waterloo Black Hawks of the USHL in 2015-16. He was a regular in the line up, adding a goal and 15 assists in 57 regular season games. It's nice to see that he came alive in the playoffs with 3 goals and 2 assists in 9 games. He earned USHL All-Rookie Second Team honors for his performance that season. Last year saw him play an increased role on Waterloo. He then added 5 goals and 29 assists in 54 regular season games as well as 3 points in 8 playoffs games. He finished 6th in scoring on Waterloo and 1st among the defensemen while averaging 2.4 shots per game. That performance helped him earn USHL Second All-Star Team honors. Anderson also has some international experience, playing in the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament for the USA U18 team last August and playing in the recent World Junior A Challenge for the USA U19 team made up of fellow USHL players. He will begin his college career with the University of Minnesota-Duluth next fall.
Where is Michael Anderson Ranked?
Based on these rankings, I'd expect to see Anderson go in the 3rd/4th round range. He did jump up from 56th among North American Skaters on the midterm list to 51st on the Central Scouting's final list. He made a similar minor jump on The Draft Analyst list, going from 87th overall in February to 82nd in May. Anderson was 87th overall on Future Considerations' Fall list, moved up to 66th on their Winter rankings, and is currently 71st on the Spring list. Craig Button of TSN had Anderson ranked 96th overall back in March.
What Others Say About Michael Anderson
Here is some of what Future Considerations had to say on Anderson from back in November:
A physical defense first two-way defender…not a strong skater but adequate and has the lateral mobility to stay with his checks…moves the puck up ice with solid passing and vision…has a booming shot and is effective at getting pucks on net…plays a very physical game…sees ice in all phases of the game, on the power play, penalty kill, and a lot of even strength time…forces the rushing forwards toward the wall…best defensive work is done along the wall challenging the puck carrier…menacing and physical in one on one battles…projects to become a stay at home defenseman who takes care of his own end first but also has the potential to move the puck with solid passes…not the sexy pick but a guy who can help stabilize a defensive corps.
I like reading that he has a physical element to his game and seems to utilize it well to grind down the opposition and stop attacks. It's also encouraging to see that while he is a defense first prospect, he is able to move the puck out of danger and into the transition game.
Next, let's take a look to read what Bill Placzek had to say on Anderson over at DraftSite:
Looked like the best defenseman in the USHL top Prospects game with solid tools, toolbox and hockey sense, as he played an aggressive game in both ends, with good decisions and movement. Is a strong defender down low, and when going up ice he is a no hesitation carrier who handles the puck very well and with confidence. Not terrific in any aspect but solid in all areas.
This seems to fall in line with the Future Considerations comment about Anderson not being a "sexy pick" but a prospect that has the tools to develop into a defender that you can trust to get the job done in his own end.
Steve Kournianos over at The Draft Analyst has Anderson going in the 3rd round in his recent mock draft. Here is what he had to say about the defender:
Quick, confident defender who can initiate a successful breakout in a variety of ways. Anderson is a strong skater with excellent lateral mobility who uses his speed to escape opponents. He can feather accurate passes into open ice while drawing multiple opponents. A solid body checker who can excel in either the finesse game or the slogging match. He can be trusted with critical roles on both the penalty kill and on the power play.
It's interesting to read another report that gives the impression that Anderson is just an all around reliable defender. I'm curious to see how much responsibility he gets in his freshman season with UMD next fall.
A Little Video
There isn't too much video out there on Anderson but you can see him score a goal and get beat for a goal against in the below videos:
An Opinion of Sorts
Anderson is a prospect that I wouldn't mind the Devils drafting, though I'd prefer to target him around the 4th round since his game is a bit limited offensively. With that said, there are some aspects of his game that I really like. He understands his job in his own end and is able to shut down the opposition more often than not. It seems that he understands how to use his physicality in an effective way and is not careless about it. While it doesn't seem that he will be a big point producer as he advances up the ranks, I like reading that he's capable in moving the puck and can chip in offensively from time to time. As far as mid-round picks go, I think Anderson is a solid enough prospect to keep an eye out for.
What are your thoughts on Anderson as a prospect? Is he one of the defensemen in this year's class that you would want the Devils to draft? Leave your comments below and thank you for reading!