Kings defenseman Mikey Anderson knows all about balancing stress and other emotions while working through difficult situations. Having won two NCAA National Championships, as well as pair of medals with Team USA at the World Junior Championship, adequately prepares you for challenging situations on the ice.
So, while many LA hockey fans nervously bit their nails throughout the summer, wondering when (or even if) the young blueliner would sign a contract extension, he just took it all in stride — to the surprise of nobody who knows him well.
“We were trying to see if we could get something to work out,” Anderson said, when asked what took so long to end up with a one-year deal. “Obviously, we couldn’t find something that made sense for both sides. So, I kind of bet on myself a little bit; take a one-year deal and try to keep playing the way I have last couple years. Then, in a year, we’ll reevaluate and see where we’re at.”
Although he could have simply signed a similar deal in July, waiting until just before Training Camp opened wasn’t really a problem. He knew he wasn’t going anywhere else and he had plenty of support from those in his inner-circle.
“My agent has gone through it before with a few players, so he kind of has the idea,” Anderson began, before working in the names of a few past and current NHL players. “Then, one of my trainers back home, Erik Rasmussen, he went through it when he played. He kind of talked me through it a little bit. Plus, I texted with Drew (Doughty) here and there too. So, I had a couple guys just pitching in and checking to see how things go. At the end of the day, I’m happy we got it done.”
Just 23-years-old and with 117 games of NHL experience — plus that seven-game series with the Oilers last season — Anderson has always come across more mature than his age. What has been going through his mind over the first few days of camp, as he’s had Doughty to his left and rookie Brandt Clarke sitting to his right in the locker room.
“When you sit by Drew, I think you always feel like a rookie; you could be a ten-year guy and you’d still feel like a rookie next to him,” Anderson began with a hearty laugh. “It’s fun, you get a good mix. Like you said, we have the old and we have the new coming in. It’s fun to get to know [all the guys]. I’ve gotten to know Drew over the last three years. Now, getting to know Brandt a little bit – it’s fun to kind of see the comparisons. I’m just like Brandt, still trying to pick Drew’s mind and still continue to learn. He’s got a lot to give, so it’s something I try to do every day.”
Even with a new contract in hand and a new season right around the corner, some things from the past are still lingering just a bit.
“It stings for a while,” Anderson said, when asked about the process of turning the page after losing to Edmonton in the playoffs. “I think everyone was shocked we got that far, but I know Todd said it, ‘No one in the room was surprised,’ We knew we had it in there. Go back to game six even, we could have won at home. One mistake, late in the game, we lose. Next night, same thing – tight game the whole way and one play ends up in your net all of a sudden. It’s hard to get back. I think everyone just used that as motivation to try and come in here in good shape and get things going on the right foot this year.”
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