So Close: Josh Anderson Was Ready to Play if The Blue Jackets Had Advanced Past the First Round

By Jacob Nitzberg on September 12, 2020 at 9:20 am
Dec 5, 2019; Columbus, OH, USA; New York Rangers goalie Alexandar Georgiev (40) makes a save against Columbus Blue Jackets right wing Josh Anderson (77) during the first period at Nationwide Arena.
Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

It's good or bad news, depending on how you look at it.

If the Blue Jackets had somehow been able to get by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Josh Anderson would have been ready to play against Philadelphia. That would have been nice, huh?

“Yeah, he was ready to play in the next round,” Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekäläinen told The Athletic. “He would have been back."

In a series (and season) where the Blue Jackets desperately needed offense, Anderson was banged up practically the entire time and wasn't able to contribute in an important contract year.

The silver lining, though, is that he was eventually able to overcome his injuries and work himself back into hockey shape. It is a crucial summer for the Blue Jackets as they'll look to re-sign three RFAs: Pierre-Luc Dubois, Vladislav Gavrikov, and Anderson. 

Where the waters get murky for Anderson are the rumors that he and his agent, Darren Ferris, are seeking a long-term deal. The desire to stay in Columbus is real, though: “One thing I know: Josh would like to be in (Columbus) for a long time," Ferris told The Athletic.

That's a tough thing to commit to for the Blue Jackets, who saw Anderson play in only 26 games this past season, scoring just one goal while dealing with injuries. Both of those should raise red flags, but the fact that Anderson would have been ready to go against Philadelphia is good news for both him and the Blue Jackets in terms of negotiations.

Blue Jackets fans will remember the difficulties that the club had when negotiating broke down with Anderson prior to the 2017 season. Hopefully, they'll have an easier time this go-around and find a deal suitable to both parties. At the end of the day, the Blue Jackets are a much better team with Anderson. He fits their style, Tortorella's game plan, and is a bona-fide goalscorer.