Josh Anderson‘s agent Darren Ferris told The Athletic’s Aaron Portzline (subscription required) that the RFA forward will not attend Columbus Blue Jackets training camp if he isn’t signed to a new contract.
Interestingly, Ferris noted to Portzline that Anderson, 23, could skate with a pro team in Switzerland if a deal continues to be on hold.
The Blue Jackets are really starting to get into gear with training camp on Thursday and Friday, while their first preseason game is scheduled for Sept. 19 (a week from tomorrow). That’s not a ton of time for a process that lacked “urgency,” according to what Ferris told Portzline.
Pondering Anderson’s value
We’ve seen some recent RFA impasses break up lately, with Sam Bennett receiving a deal that carries an AAV just under $2 million while Anthony Duclair will carry a $1.2M cap hit for a season.
It’s unclear what Columbus is offering and it’s also unclear what Anderson wants as far as years or dollars are concerned.
As a fourth-rounder (95th overall in 2012), he lacks the pedigree of a guy like Bennett. Anderson didn’t do much in the 18 games he spent with Columbus between 2014-15 and 2015-16, but last season was quite the breakthrough.
In 78 games, Anderson generated 17 goals and 12 assists for 29 points while totaling 89 penalty minutes. He also scored a goal and an assist in five postseason games. To his credit, Anderson managed solid numbers with minimal time on the Blue Jackets’ outstanding power play.
Looking at his work at other levels, it’s clear that he figures to focus on scoring goals, although Anderson isn’t afraid to “mix it up.” His 17 goals came on 119 shots on goal, good for a 14.3 shooting percentage, so he’d probably need to fire the puck more often in the future to continue to regularly hit 15-20 goals.
Fansided’s Tony Mazziotti even makes a case for some top-line duty for Anderson, so he certainly has his proponents.
There’s value in a player like that, particularly since there’s conceivably some room to grow at age 23. The question, for both sides, is “How much?” The Blue Jackets boast almost $8M in cap space according to Cap Friendly, so this is a matter of value, although Columbus’ internal budget isn’t necessarily aiming for the cap ceiling.
If all of this uncertainty leaves Blue Jackets fans unsettled, take heart; at least there are “dad jokes.”