Playing in six games to close out the 19-20 regular season, LA Kings defenseman Mikey Anderson discussed his expectations entering his first full year.
This past weekend, LA Kings head coach Todd McLellan confirmed Mikey Anderson’s spot on the roster for the 2021 season. The 21-year-old was called up to the NHL, making his debut against his older brother and the New Jersey Devils.
Entering his first full season, he’s expected to be an integral piece along the LA Kings blueline, likely paired with Matt Roy. Anderson spoke with the media on Monday.
On entering this year being more comfortable, having played with Matt Roy last year
Yeah, obviously that helps a lot kind of coming in being familiar with you know, the way he plays. He was familiar with me a little bit from the last end of the year there so coming in for sure it’s more comfortable kind of being able to talk over different situations with him. It’s a little less nerve-wracking maybe than it was last year.
On how important it was for him to play six games with the LA Kings at the end of the 19-20 season
Yeah, I thought it was huge for me. I was fortunate to get the chance to play a couple of games. Like you said Matty (Roy) helped me a lot last year kind of coming in and feel comfortable right from the start and you know coming into camp this year being around the guys for the six games in couple of weeks as of last year, it made coming back this year a lot more comfortable. A lot, you know, a lot easier to kind of transition and get camp rolling.
On how he’s approaching this season after such a long layoff
I think you know like a lot of other younger guys like myself, the long offseason is something we’re probably never going to see again. So kind of being underdeveloped the last couple of years, I took a big lead on trying to get in the weight room and put on some extra weight put on some muscle, get a little faster get stronger and you know, having had the success we had at the end of last year trying to you know come in with the mindset that I wanted that spot out of camp again. So you know trying to push hard and in the weight room put on the extra weight, feel good on the ice, and kind of come in ready to go.
On whether the LA Kings’ 2021 schedule benefits a young player like him
Yeah, I think for sure it does. You know, being more of a defensive-minded player you know, you can kind of learn like you said the different tendencies from the offensive guys kind of you know, know what they’re trying to do or what they prefer to do versus other players. So, you know, try and study it, you know, you can feel throughout the games and in playing the same teams over and over again. You know, not much is going to change throughout the year for the set player so you can kind of learn the tendencies in the way that teams are trying to play.
On what he felt he did well in the six NHL games last season
Yeah, I thought you know, the six games at the end of the year I thought me and Matty did a good job defending together you know, obviously he’s a really good player and you know, very steady and you know, kind of reliable knowing what he’s going to do game in and game out.
But I thought the two of us together we did a good job defending playing against some of the, you know, the top players from around the league. So, you know, looking at that that was a big key for me and kind of watching some of those games with Sean O’Donnell and some of the coaches here was kind of looking at that and kind of try and build off of the six games you had at the end of last year.
On what he’s learned sharing a locker room with Drew Doughty
Yeah, I think for starters it’s fun to kind of see the way he approaches the game. Obviously, he’s super talented, has all the skill, but I think he thinks the game super well. He makes little reads that probably go unnoticed to a lot of people but if you kind of sit back and you study him and watch his you know, different stick placements and how quick you can make a play and you know, read a breakout coming at him.
It’s pretty spectacular. And kind of just how loose he is, you know, around the rink, he tries to keep things light, but at the same time, he knows when it’s time to dial it in and stay serious. So, um, you know, he’s a good guy to kind of, you know, being able to learn from him and, you know, day in and day out, he does the work he studies the game and you know, he communicates a lot which is a big thing for a young guy like me.
On what he thinks about people describing his leadership skills at such a young age
Yeah, obviously it’s you know, it’s very humbling to hear those things you know, just just like like I didn’t we talked about it last year. It’s kind of just trying to come to the rink and be myself especially being in a new setting you know, not having been around a lot of the guys you know from the Kings last year besides those two weeks at the end of the year, it’s trying not to change anything from who I normally am.
I’m not a big you know, talker in the room. I’m more in like one-on-one conversations not the center of the locker room but I try and just be who I am and you know take it from there and learn from all the older guys that have been here who have won Stanley Cups before and kind of take it all in and see what they do on a day to day basis.
On what he’s seen from new LA Kings defenseman Olli Maatta in camp so far
Yeah, he’s been awesome so far. Obviously, you know, his track record kind of speaks for himself. He’s, you know, very experienced and you know, like a lot of the other you know, older guys in the room. He’s done a lot with the game already. But coming in, you know, he seems you know, it’s kind of like Drew (Doughty) thinks the game the same — very steady makes a lot of, you know, really smart plays that probably not a lot of guys watching the game will notice.
I try to pick them out. But off the ice, he’s jumped right in, pitching in little things to work on here and there — maybe a different way to defend or you know, mindset of a skill to work on but you know, he kind of gives a different perspective but kind of coming in and not knowing him at all. He’s jumped right in and he’s been a great guy so far to learn from.