In his first full NHL season, LA Kings defenseman Mikey Anderson is quickly becoming a leader thanks in large part to Drew Doughty.
Following practice on Monday, LA Kings defenseman Drew Doughty emphasized the importance of Matt Greene‘s leadership when he was a youngster getting used to the NHL. Years later, Doughty finds himself in Greene’s former role, and the LA Kings defensive corps is benefiting a great deal from No. 8’s leadership and lineage. That goes especially for Doughty’s linemate, Mikey Anderson, whose first full season in the NHL is a successful one thus far.
On Tuesday, Anderson spoke with the media about Doughty’s tutelage as a leader and how the veteran has mentored himself and the rest of his teammates this season.
“I think there’s a couple different elements to it, obviously,” Anderson said. “You watch him play, and he competes like no one else out there. You can tell he wants to be there. You can tell he gives it his all every day. So, you know, you watch him go out there and compete, and it’s pretty contagious throughout the lineup.”
The 21-year-old didn’t stop there, though, stressing Doughty’s importance in between games.
“And then secondly, off the ice as a younger guy, he keeps it pretty loose around the rink,” added Anderson. “He’s easy to talk to, approachable, makes you comfortable in the locker room, in the weight room, whatever. But, at the same time, he can dial it in when he needs to, he knows when something needs to be said, so he kind of brings a bunch of different elements to the table.”
While he may not have been given much of a test last season, having only appeared in six games, Mikey Anderson has definitely earned his keep, so to speak, with the LA Kings this season.
To reward his team for making him a regular in the lineup, the former UMD Bulldog has quickly established himself as a defensive stalwart on a defensive corps whose biggest issue may very well be an over-abundance of talent. Nevertheless, Mikey Anderson’s efforts have not gone unnoticed. In fact, his hard work has earned him a spot on the top defensive pairing with Doughty. Of course, with more success comes more minutes and more responsibility.
Anderson, however, hasn’t been one to shy away from the pressure.
“Obviously, it can be a challenge,” the 21-year-old admitted. “You know, some nights might not go your way like the others will, but, like, we were talking about how Drew’s a great player, and he makes those minutes a little bit easier. He’s always in the right spot, which helps me out. I try and do the same for him and making sure you’re in the right spot, knowing we’re on the ice against what their tendencies are, what they might do. And then, it’s taking advantage of the rest days; in practice, it’s getting what you need and taking advantage of the extra rest you might need or whatever you can do to get ready for the next game,”
After averaging 18:09 minutes of ice time last season, Mikey Anderson’s minutes have increased this season, logging an average of 21:37 per outing. That is the second on the team to, you guessed it, the aforementioned Drew Doughty’s mark of 26:36.
In 18 games so far this season, Anderson has four assists, but his leadership skills are already prevalent, and you can be sure that Drew Doughty has had a role to play in that. When speaking to the media, for instance, the calming eloquence in Anderson’s responses makes it easy to forget that he is still just 21. This is very similar to what Drew Doughty was like when he was first breaking into the NHL, so, as the old adage goes, the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree.
It’s been said before, but it nonetheless warrants repeating that there are plenty of reasons to be excited for the LA Kings’ future. Mikey Anderson is, without a doubt, one of those reasons, and that came from, among other things, proper leadership, hard work, and a sheer determination to just keep getting better.
Not too bad for a player drafted 103rd overall.