LA Kings: Todd McLellan confirms roster spot for this young player

LA Kings (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)
LA Kings (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images) /

LA Kings head coach Todd McLellan confirmed defenseman Mikey Anderson will have a spot on the 2021 roster. The 21-year-old played in six games last year.

Mikey Anderson was the LA Kings fourth-round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft. He made his debut in late February last season — against his older brother no less — and scored his first goal a few days later against the Colorado Avalanche. “It feels awesome,” Anderson said after the game. “You dream about it, so it’s pretty exciting to have it happen.”

Anderson played in the team’s final six games before the season was prematurely shut down because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The LA Kings coincidentally won their final seven contests of the 19-20 season, hoping that momentum would carry over into next season. Given the long layoff, other players found temporary homes to keep playing while the NHL sorted out the logistics of playing the 2021 season in a pandemic.

Mikey Anderson remained idle during the downtime, not loaned to any clubs overseas. But despite the break, head coach Todd McLellan has penciled him into the Opening Night roster.

“I would consider Mikey Anderson the youngest of the group,” McLellan said after Day 3 of LA Kings training camp. “You know (Kale) Clague, (Sean) Durzi, those type of players as well but Mikey, in my mind, has worked his way into our lineup, and again, it looks like he’s going to stay there. The amount of poise and the type of plays he makes not only offensively but also defensively is pretty rewarding. Clague and Durzi have both come in and shown that they’re knocking on the door.”

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Anderson won two National Championships at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. In the 18-19 season, his final year on campus, Anderson tallied six goals and 27 points in 40 games. Before he was called up, he scored three goals with 12 assists in 53 games for the Ontario Reign.

The offense will come at the NHL level, but in the six games he played to close out the 19-20 season, Anderson was terrific defensively, exhibiting well-time poke checks and forechecks against the end boards. Again, it’s not a lot to go off, but Anderson didn’t let the moment get the best of him.

General manager Rob Blake emphasized earlier this week that the organization will ensure their prospects are 100 percent ready when called up. Anderson is likely to be paired with either Matt Roy or Sean Walker this season, although he could serve as the team’s seventh defenseman on Opening Night.

With Tobias Bjornfot and Team Sweden eliminated from WJC play, the LA Kings will get another top prospect back, although Bjornfot will be required to quarantine for eight days prior to skating with the team.