Getting to Know New Blackhawks Forward Joey Anderson

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Getting to Know New Blackhawks Forward Joey Anderson

Chicago Blackhawks

Welcome to Chicago, Joey Anderson. Here are some of your new teammat… nevermind. Here are some new new teammates. Good luck!

The unfortunately sad reality of being a sports fan is that, at times of the year like this with a trade deadline and a lot of player movement, our assessment of an individual’s capabilities and performance are based significantly on what we can read on a stat sheet and what our first impression is of a player.

In Anderson’s case, the back of his hockey card shows a player who had 14 goals in 30 games for the Marlies this season and three points in 14 games for the Maple Leafs, before he was part of the trade that sent Jake McCabe and Sam Lafferty to Toronto.

Since he was drafted by the Devils in the third round of the 2016 NHL Draft, he’s now been traded twice; once from New Jersey to Toronto (for Andreas Johnsson in 2020) and now to Chicago.

Anderson has appeared in 75 regular season NHL games now in his career, the last three of which have been as a member of the Blackhawks. He has ten goals to show for his NHL career, he turns 25 in June and is a restricted free agent this summer.

And there’s nothing sexy about his game — by his own admission.

Honestly, it’s just straightforward hockey,” he said after practice on Friday. “It’s not fancy. You’re probably not going to see anything I do on a highlight reel. I just keep pucks moving, try to be in the right spots, play hard, be stingy defensively, chip that offense when it’s there. But I like to think I play a good 200 foot game. I’ll describe it as like lull event or boring hockey, but I think it’s efficient and it’s just simple.

I can hear a least a dozen of you whispering “oh boy!” under your breath.

Let’s back peddle for a moment. Anderson was a teammate of Blackhawks defenseman Caleb Jones on the United States’ gold medal-winning team at the World Junior Championship. There are a lot of names on that roster that are now doing impressive things in the NHL: Adam Fox, Jake Oettinger, Tage Thompson, Charlie McAvoy, Troy Terry, Clayton Keller, Jordan Greenway… a nice group. A group that won a gold medal together.

So at least Anderson knew one guy in the room. It wasn’t like Caleb and Anderson were texting every day over the past six years, but they had played together. And won together.

Anderson arrived in Chicago with Brett Seney on the Blackhawks’ roster. He told me on Friday that he and Seney are “pretty much best friends” after playing together in the Devils and Leafs organizations, and his wife is close with Seney’s fiancée as well. Having friends in his new city was desperately needed because Anderson and his wife are moving to Chicago with a three-month-old daughter.

Yeah, a 24-year-old dad who’s trying to figure out how, as an American-born hockey player with an American-born wife with a daughter who was born in Toronto and, therefore, carries a Canadian passport, to make life work on the fly with six weeks left in the NHL season.

At least Anderson’s mom was a Blackhawks fan already?

“It was a little bittersweet,” Anderson said. “I spent a lot of time with the Marlies this year and we were really close with that group. They’re poised to go on — hopefully — a deep run for their playoffs. So leaving a lot of friends there, and even with the Leafs, it’s tough to leave that group.

My mom’s favorite team is the Blackhawks. I’m from Minnesota, my wife’s from there, so we’re just really excited to be closer to home — live in the Midwest again. And to be able to earn some more opportunities to play here at the end of the year with the Hawks… It’s been pretty fast paced so far. My wife already packed up everything and her and the baby got in Wednesday, so we’re getting situated here. But we’re finally, hopefully can settle down a little bit this afternoon and just take a little breather.”

That’s a wild week for a young guy to deal with, especially when the first two games he played in for the Blackhawks were on the road. But now that the Blackhawks are home, he and his family can start to settle in.

The opportunity in front of Anderson could be a literal direct line to see where his future could be.

If you look back at the pre-trade resume of Lafferty when the Blackhawks acquired him from Pittsburgh, it isn’t that far off of Anderson’s to date. Lafferty was 25 and had scored six goals in 94 career NHL games. Lafferty came to Chicago with a game that wasn’t going to be on many highlight reels but a strong work ethic and a willingness to play stingy defense. He got a two-year NHL contract with the Blackhawks and is now an important piece the Leafs added at the trade deadline.

The Blackhawks officially assigned Anderson and Lukas Reichel to the Rockford IceHogs just ahead of Friday’s trade deadline so both is eligible for the AHL playoffs (just paper transactions). But if Anderson can take advantage of the situation in Chicago as well as Lafferty did, he and his wife could be here long enough to enjoy the Midwest they both grew up in. And that’s the goal.

Author: Tab Bamford

Tab is the Lead Blackhawks voice for BN. He is the author of two books about the Blackhawks, most recently "Chicago Blackhawks: An Illustrated Timeline" (Reedy Press, 2021). Find him on Twitter at @The1Tab