2024 Kings Seasons In Review – Mikey Anderson

Taking you through the weekend with the season in review for defenseman Mikey Anderson.

Anderson played the first season of an eight-year contract extension he signed in February of 2023. Anderson’s role on the team is exactly what it’s been for three seasons now – LD1. Anderson continues to effectively partner with Drew Doughty, a duo that has been as consistent a fixture in the lineup as any. A look below at Anderson’s performance during the 2023-24 campaign.

Mikey Anderson
LAK Statline –74 games played, 2 goals, 16 assists, +22 rating, 18 penalty minutes
LAK Playoff Statline – 5 games played, 1 goal, 2 assists, -1 rating, 2 penalty minutes
NHL Possession Metrics (Relative To Kings) – CF% – 54.2% (-0.8%), SCF% – 51.5% (-3.6%), HDCF% – 50.0% (-5.5%)

I haven’t looked back, but Anderson’s season review feels like the easiest to copy/paste from season to season. He feels like, right now, the player who he’s likely going to be for the next several years, all of which he has committed to the Kings. The regular-season showed a lot of good with Anderson’s game, with the numbers to support a very strong defensive season. Like many, the playoffs didn’t match those totals. Anderson is a defense-first defenseman who had some really strong numbers to back up that part of his game. More on 44 below.

Trending Up – Plus/Minus is the biggest “grain of salt” statistic in the NHL. So, when you see +22 for Mikey Anderson – the best total on the Kings and a Top-15 total among NHL defensemen – you’ve got to look for the why. The answer? The Kings were seldomly scored on when Anderson was on the ice this season. Anderson ranked a narrow second on the Kings behind only his partner, Doughty, in terms of goals allowed per/60 at 5-on-5. Among the 217 defensemen to play at least 500 minutes at 5-on-5 this season, Anderson ranked ninth in the entire NHL in terms of fewest goals allowed. Exactly the numbers you want to see from a guy who you pay to keep the puck out of your net.

Goals against is ultimately the most important defensive metric but there is an element of luck to it. Anderson, however, has some solid defensive numbers to support his case. While he ranked ninth in the NHL in goals allowed as noted, he ranked third in terms of fewest shots on goal against at 5-on-5 on a per/60 basis. He was also among the best on the Kings in terms of denying defensive-zone entries with possession as well as defensive-zone stick checks. Oh, and he did it while starting just over 38 percent of his shifts in the offensive zone, the lowest rate among Kings blueliners, while logging some of the team’s most difficult matchups at even strength. There seemed to be a narrative at times that Anderson’s defensive level slipped at points in the season. These numbers would suggest that is untrue.

Also, the sample size of five games is so small, but Anderson did post three points (1-2-3) from the postseason series against the Oilers. While he’s not on the power play, Anderson also logged 12:15 on the penalty kill in the series and was not on the ice for a single goal against in that time. There’s also the negatives to Anderson’s series against the Oilers, as evidenced below, but he was a strong penalty killer and did deliver a bit of offense from the blueline in that series. Worth noting at the least.

Trending Down – In the playoff series against Edmonton, Anderson was on the ice for a team-high eight goals against. All eight of those goals came at even strength, as Anderson was actually not on the ice for a single Oilers PPG, as noted above, from 12:15 in shorthanded TOI. The suppression metrics throughout the five games were actually pretty good and we all understand the matchups he’s tasked with – his three most common opponents were McDavid, Hyman and Draisaitl. But, the underlying metrics don’t mean much if they aren’t driving the most important number, which is goals allowed. That was ultimately the case this postseason with Anderson on the ice.

I think with Anderson it’s clear the type of player that he is. He’s got a defense-first focus and that’s what he plays to. There’s always been, however, a bit of a prevailing hope that there might be a little bit more offense in this game than we’ve seen to date. That just might not be the case. Anderson scored two goals this season as a part of 18 points, two fewer than he recorded last season. Clearly the defensive side of the game more than makes up for it but in a top-pairing role, Anderson ranked towards the bottom among Kings skaters this season in most individual offensive metrics. Should the defense ever slip, there might not be the offensive numbers to recover. One area of disappointment, perhaps, was to not see a bit more in that area.

2024-25 Outlook– For Anderson, he’s in it for the long haul.

After signing a long-term contract last February, Anderson is committed to the Kings through 2031 with a salary-cap hit of $4,125,000. He a defensively-sound, top-four blueliner and a culture player within the organization. On the shortlist for a letter should the opportunity arise down the road as an already vocal leader within the room. As long as Anderson and Doughty are with the Kings, at their current levels, I wouldn’t see them splitting up, but at the same time, this is an organization evaluating everything with regards to how they play the game. Personnel pairings have to be included in that and it can’t just be the forwards. We might not see the same composition of defensemen on the backend and moving pieces aronud might improve the whole. Like everyone else, Anderson’s role and usage will be monitored. He’ll be here in Los Angeles, though, likely continuing to do what he does best – keeping the puck out of his net.

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