Joey Anderson earned his call up to New Jersey just eight games into the 2018-19 season, but a lower-body injury kept him out of the lineup for the majority of his time with the Devils. For Anderson, the injury did not hold him back. Over the summer, he took everything he learned with the club to heart and worked hard to improve his game.
"I think little things, like working on my skating and edgework are details that most people might not see or notice but they make a huge impact on the games and a difference in moving up," Anderson stated.
"One of the things we talked about is being able to play faster, to play at pace," Head Coach Mark Dennehy said of Anderson. "A big thing you'll notice is that he came back leaner, a little lighter, but he's still very strong on the puck. That's enabling him to move quicker. I think that his understanding of how we want to play and understanding what that next play is gives him an advantage because he's so mentally ahead of where most of the people are on the ice that he can make up for other things with his head."
On paper, the Binghamton Devils season may not be what everyone was expecting, but Joey Anderson has been one of the most visible players out there.
"He's been very good for us this year," Dennehy continued. "I know that he wants to get a few more goals and we're confident that he will because of the chances that he's getting. What we really like about his game is even though he's one of our leaders in terms of scoring chances for, he's also a leader in scoring chances against. He doesn't give the puck up or turn it over. That speaks to his 200-foot game."
The third round, 2016 New Jersey draft pick shares an optimistic outlook on the season with his coach.
"The results haven't quite been where we want them, but overall the team is gelling very well. I think the way we're playing has been much more promising. You can see what this group can become and it's heading in the right direction. Guys enjoy being at the rink together, practicing and working and it makes it a lot more enjoyable."
And that bond has turned into consistency on the first line. Anderson shares this honor with Ben Street, and until his recent call-up, Brett Seney.
"They had chemistry right from the get-go and they all bring something a little different to the table," said Dennehy of his first line pairing. "They all have a pretty good hockey sense and we were lucky to recognize that early on. They all complement each other. Seney is good at getting on the puck and he has a dynamic quickness. Anderson is always in the right spot and is able to read both his teammates and get to the good areas to possess the puck down low. Street is the straw that stirs it all together - a jack of all trades."
That sentiment is mirrored by Anderson himself.
"All three of us have played at high levels and we're used to making plays under pressure and in tight spaces. We read off each other and bring something different to the table. Street is all-around, Seney is super-fast, and I can come in and fill some of the gaps - helping get pucks back and get heavy on it. We really find each other on the ice and we have fun doing it. It's easier to go out there and make plays when you're having fun."