Vancouver Canucks 2016 NHL Draft Profile: D Josh Anderson

Jan 9, 2016; Prince George, BC, CAN; Prince George Cougars defenseman Josh Anderson (28) skates on the ice before a game against the Victoria Royals at CN Centre. Mandatory Credit: Brett Cullen
Jan 9, 2016; Prince George, BC, CAN; Prince George Cougars defenseman Josh Anderson (28) skates on the ice before a game against the Victoria Royals at CN Centre. Mandatory Credit: Brett Cullen /

The Vancouver Canucks are preparing for the 2016 NHL Entry Draft — and so are we.

Unfortunately, the 2015-16 season was cut short for the Vancouver Canucks, which means we have a long offseason ahead of us. Canucks GM Jim Benning and his staff will use the time to prepare next season’s roster, and the 2016 NHL Entry Draft will certainly play an important part in that process.

Vancouver started off strong in the fall of 2015 but ended the season with a thud. Thanks to their abysmal 28th rank in the league standings, the Canucks owned seven picks early in each round. That changed after trading the second and fourth-round selections to the Florida Panthers, but who knows what will happen on draft day to get those back. Benning did a great job in his first two years at the job and another successful draft could certainly help boost the rebuild.

Here at The Canuck Way, we will do our best to prepare you for the upcoming event by profiling as many draft-eligible players as we possibly can. Keep in mind that we are not saying these are players the Canucks are targeting. Instead, these are players that we think the Canucks could or should have interest in.

Time for a look at WHL Prince George Cougars defenseman Josh Anderson!

vancouver canucks
Jan 12, 2016; Prince George, BC, CAN; Prince George Cougars defenseman Josh Anderson (28) awaits a faceoff against the Seattle Thunderbirds at CN Centre. Mandatory Credit: Brett Cullen /

Name: Josh Anderson

Position: Defense

Shoots: Left

Height, weight: 6’2”, 220 lbs

Team/League: Prince George Cougars, WHL

Stats (from 







NHL CSS Ranking: 60th (North American Skaters)

Risk, Reward: 2/5, 3/5

NHL-potential: Top-Nine Defenseman

Draft Range: Third Round or Later

Scouting report

"A big defender who basically handles his end and then some. Has a nasty streak as wide as his shoulders. Has very little up ice push, but makes his end a challenge for opposing players who are looking for him as much as the puck. A steady stay home guy who logs plenty of ice time, because of his feared presence. One of the younger prospects in the class. (Bill Placzeck,"


The picture above was chosen for a reason. It depicts a seasoned veteran who is giving his opponents some mean looks as he awaits the puck-drop. Except this is Josh Anderson, who is just 17 years old, but looks like a man amongst a bunch of kids in the Western Hockey League.

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At 6-foot-2 and 220 pounds, Anderson has NHL size already, and he most certainly knows how to use it. Andersson can beat just about anyone in the league in puck battles in the corners, as he pins guys against the boards or simply throws his weight around. A typical stay-at-home defenseman, Anderson makes his team tough to play against.

But, the PG Cougar is not just a beast in the corners. He displays great positioning in the defensive zone and, thanks to his defensive awareness, always seems to be in the right place at the right time. Anderson uses his reach well to interrupt passes and force turnovers against oncoming attackers.

Furthermore, Anderson sticks up for his teammates. He had 86 penalties in 39 games this season, but not because he is a lazy player who gets a lot of unnecessary hooking penalties. The opposite is the case: the majority of Anderson’s penalty minutes came from fights, and the rest was normal penalties that happen to any defenseman.


As mentioned, Anderson is not exactly an offensive player. Three goals and 10 points in 85 WHL games don’t scream ‘offense’. Anderson is a stay-at-home guy, and a good one at that, but he likely won’t produce a whole lot of offense, especially not in the NHL. Not a two-way player.

Perhaps the biggest reason why he is likely to fall out of the second and quite possibly third round is his skating. Anderson plays well positionally, but he tends to let speedy forwards move past him, unable to keep up while skating backwards, and turning around too late. He needs to improve his foot speed to keep up with opponents at the next level.

Final Thoughts

The National Hockey League as a whole has moved away from goons and, most recently, pure shutdown defensemen. As analytics become more and more important, coaches actually want players who make sure their team gets possession of the puck, rather than just keeping it out of the net. However, Vancouver Canucks GM Jim Benning recently acquired Erik Gudbranson from the Florida Panthers, so there is still hope for players like Anderson.

Playing most of the season on a D-pairing with Cougars captain and Columbus Blue Jackets prospect Sam Ruopp, Anderson got a lot of ice time against the opponents’ top lines. He looked very mature in that role, and looks like he could become a great shutdown player at the next level.

For the Canucks, Anderson will become interesting in the third round. However, after losing their second-round selection in the Gudbranson trade, they might want to go for a player with a higher ceiling than Anderson. The Cougars D-man could be gone in Round 4, though, so if Benning likes him, he will have to make a call early.

Next: More 2016 NHL Draft Profiles

With Gudbranson and Nikita Tryamkin already on the roster, the Vancouver Canucks could be tough to play against in the future. If they add Anderson at the 2016 draft, that trend could continue. A future D-core of tough guys like Gudbranson, Tryamkin and Anderson along with puck-movers like Ben Hutton, Troy Stecher, Jordan Subban and Tate Olson sure sounds intriguing.