Speaking with the media today, Columbus Blue Jackets’ GM Jarmo Kekalainen reiterated that he thinks Josh Anderson will be signed before training camp starts at the end of the week. Anderson is one of five unsigned restricted free agents around the league, and just this week there was a report from Aaron Portzline of The Athletic that he wouldn’t attend training camp without a contract.
Anderson broke out last year in his first chance at full-time action, scoring 17 goals and contributing in almost every aspect of the game. His physical presence and ability to work up and down the lineup can be very useful for a team like Columbus, who will feature some undersized forwards up front this season. There’s not a clear spot for him at this point, but since Kekalainen also revealed that Boone Jenner is working through a “middle-body injury” and will miss part of camp, there is potential for him to move up a bit.
Columbus has a lineup that could roll four lines every night as long as they get everyone signed and healthy, and Anderson is a big part of that. Though he was just a fourth-round pick in 2012, he showed last year that there might be a bit more upside than first expected. The team could look to Toronto for some comparables, as Anderson’s game falls somewhere in between that of Zach Hyman and Connor Brown—albeit with more size and physicality than either one—who each received multi-year contracts this summer after their first full seasons.