Mikey Anderson Named LA Kings’ Best Newcomer: A Huge Honor

LA Kings (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
LA Kings (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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In his first full NHL season, Mikey Anderson established himself as a solid fixture on the LA Kings’ blueline. On Thursday, he was honored for his efforts.

Never before had an NHL season began with as much uncertainty as it did in 2021. With the plethora of questions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Hockey League and its 31 teams were dealt an unprecedented situation in preparation for the new season. This, of course, came in addition to the teams’ regular issues: whether this player can step up or whether that player can avoid serious injury, just to name two examples. For a rebuilding team like the LA Kings, these queries were no exception. However, they did get some reassuring news about one of their young defensemen, Mikey Anderson.

Entering this season, the Fridley, MN, native had just six NHL games under his belt. While the Kings were committed to having him appear in more contests this season, it was uncertain how Anderson would fare in his first full season.

Mikey did not disappoint.

In what was expected to be a more limited role, the rookie blueliner went above and beyond in 2021. In a short time, he earned himself a spot on the top defensive pairing with veteran Drew Doughty before averaging 21:11 of ice time in his 54 games while blocking 74 shots and 66 hits. Also, while he’s not known for his offensive prowess, Anderson did score one goal — a game-winner, mind you — and 10 assists along the way.

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For his efforts, the Minnesota-Duluth alum was recognized as the media voted to name him the club’s recipient of the Mark Bavis Memorial Award for Best Newcomer.

“It’s a huge honor,” Anderson told the media on Thursday. “We’ve got a ton of younger players here that have all had great years and are going to have great futures. So, just being able to be recognized by people for that is pretty awesome, pretty special, something I didn’t think would happen a couple of years ago. So, having it happen is pretty neat.”

After being named the recipient, the 21-year-old couldn’t help but reflect on his journey this season — one that exceeded even his own expectations.

“You know, coming into the year, [my] first goal, obviously, was to be here out of camp and make the opening-night roster, which I did and was thankful for that and happy with what happened,” Anderson explained. “If you would have ever told me going back three, four years ago that from getting drafted to my first year being able to play with Drew [Doughty] for the majority of the year, and being able to play the way in minutes I was able to this year, I would have probably laughed at you. So, I’m pretty thankful to be given the opportunity and just happy that I was able to be here and experience it.”

While they may not be going to the postseason this year, the LA Kings nonetheless have plenty to look forward to.

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While their transition into a contender may still be one that requires patience, the Kings and their fans can take plenty of solace in the promise of some of their players. Mikey Anderson is right at the top of the list, and he earned that every step of the way this season not only with his play on the ice but the way he conducts himself off the ice. After all, listening to the youngster speak, you’d be inclined to think that he wasn’t a rookie but a wily veteran.

As a sidenote, while he was invited to join Team USA at the upcoming World Championship, Anderson chose to return home to his family and rest up. Frankly, few players deserve the rest more.

As we hope for restoration in collective normality entering the 2021-22 campaign, there are more reasons for the Kings and their fans to feel optimistic for the future, including Mikey Anderson. How he’ll fare as a sophomore remains to be seen but do expect more from the silver-and-black’s budding star on the blueline.

He may just help the Kings get to the next level sooner rather than later.