Good News, Insiders!
The Kings have agreed to terms on a one-year, one-way contract extension with defenseman Mikey Anderson, carrying an AAV of $1,000,000. Anderson was one of two remaining restricted free agents left for the Kings, and with his re-signing, the Kings have secured an important piece for another season, though there was zero question that the two sides would come to terms.
While far from an offensive dynamo, with eight points (2-6-8) from 53 game played last season, Anderson has established himself as an effective, defensive defenseman in the early stages of his NHL career. This past season, the 23-year-old defenseman saw an increase of nine percent or greater in shot attempts, scoring chances and high-danger chances, resulting in the Kings scoring 12 more goals at 5-on-5 with Anderson on the ice during the 2021-22 season compared to the 2020-21 season, despite relatively similar time on ice.
The one-year contract represents a small raise for a player who has established himself as a defense-first NHL defenseman who provides an excellent complement to Drew Doughty on a pairing. Doughty likes playing with Anderson, Anderson likes playing with Doughty and Anderson and Doughty play effectively together.
Looking at said Anderson and Doughty pairing, the duo was one of the top six pairings in the entire NHL in terms of CF%, SCF% and HDCF% when playing together. Looking specifically at pairs with at least 500 minutes together, Anderson-Doughty ranked second-best in the league in the first two categories, ranking sixth in the third. No pairing allowed fewer shot attempts per/60 minutes than Anderson and Doughty did, with their scoring chances against third best in the league. Together, Anderson and Doughty controlled more than 56 percent of goals, seventh best in the league. All of this coming against the other team’s best players on most nights.
The Kings now have that player under contract for a modest cap hit. The one-year deal means that Anderson will still be a restricted free agent at the expiration of his contract and that he will be eligible for arbitration next summer. This move also gives both player and team another year to negotiate a longer-term extension, should they so choose. The Kings will have more flexibility in terms of cap space next summer and substantial flexibility in the seasons beyond. General Manager Rob Blake has maintained that extending Anderson was a priority this summer and the organization loves what Anderson brings to the table.
Looking at how this impacts the Kings from a salary cap perspective, the team has only one restricted free agent remaining – Sean Durzi – and more than enough cap space to re-sign him. Per CapFriendly, accounting for the contracts of 25 players, the Kings have $513,333 in cap space remaining, but as explained yesterday, that figure is misleading. Accounting for 25 players is two more than teams are allowed to carry during the regular season, freeing up at least another $1.5 million in space. With regards specifically to Durzi, the Kings would need to send someone down to accommodate the addition, so the Kings are really looking at around $3 million in cap space with only Durzi left to sign. Not only should that be more than enough room to retain the Ontario native, but it should also give the Kings some wiggle room with regards to potential injuries and callups that happen during the season. A healthy cap situation to have.
From the team’s official release –
The LA Kings have signed defenseman Mikey Anderson to a one-year, one-way contract extension worth an annual average value (AAV) of $1,000,000.
Anderson, 23, recorded eight points (2-6=8) in a career-high 57 regular-season games with the Kings last season. He also made his playoff debut and appeared in all seven playoff games for the Kings, tallying his first postseason point (0-1=1) and ranking third among team defensemen in average time-on-ice (19:49).
Originally selected in the fourth round (103rd overall) of the 2017 NHL Draft, the 6-0, 195-pound defenseman has tallied 20 points (4-14=20) in 117 career games over three season, all with the Kings. Anderson started his professional career in 2019-20 with the Ontario Reign (AHL), where he registered 15 points (3-12=15) in 53 games before making his NHL debut with the Kings on Feb. 29, 2020.
Prior to his professional career, Anderson attended the University of Minnesota Duluth (2017-19) where he helped the Bulldogs capture back-to-back NCAA National Championships (2018-19) as well as an NCHC Championship (2019). He combined for 50 points (11-39=50) in 79 regular-season games and was named an honorable mention to the NCHC All-Star Team his sophomore season (2018-19). Before Minnesota-Duluth, Anderson also skated two seasons of junior hockey with the Waterloo Black Hawks of the United States Hockey League, totaling 50 points (6-44=50) in 111 appearances along with eight points (5-3=8) in 17 playoff games.
The Roseville, Minnesota native has represented the United States in two IIHF World Junior Championships, captaining the U.S. to a silver medal in 2019 just one year after he and his brother, Joey, helped the U.S. earn a bronze medal on home ice in 2018. In 14 games with Team USA, Anderson has tallied six points (2-4=6).