The former seventh overall pick finished the season with the Los Angeles Kings, and he looks to have a bad hold on a spot on the roster next year.
Acquired for a second-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft, Lias Andersson was grateful for a fresh start with the Los Angeles Kings after a tumultuous time with the New York Rangers. The former seventh overall pick in the 2017 draft, took four places ahead of Gabe Vilardi, came to Los Angeles with just three goals in 66 career games.
Andersson said his plans changed once negotiated, suggesting he would have stayed in Sweden had he stayed with the Rangers organization. The 22-year-old scored his first goal as a member of the Los Angeles Kings on January 24. Andersson had just finished his serve in the box and caught a loose puck for a breakaway. Initially he was refused, but a good second effort lit the lamp.
Lias Andersson has done well this season. After appearing in 11 games with the NHL roster, the Swedish forward spent a good chunk of the next two months with Ontario’s reign of the AHL, with the exception of a few games. He was recalled for good at the end of April, looking like a completely different player. In the last 10 games, Andersson has collected one goal and three assists while seeing an increase in ice time.
Over the year, it represented 44.1 xGF%, which corresponds perfectly to the 45.2 xGF% of kings as a team. He has shown moments of being a tenacious striker, penetrating ugly areas of the ice. Simply put, he did what was expected of him.
With Ontario, Andersson gained the confidence he needed, scoring six goals with 11 assists to end the year on a high note with the NHL roster.
After his Jan. 24 goal, Andersson went a long stretch without scoring a goal. He’s likely in line for a pass from center to wing, winning just 38.5% of faceoffs this season, which is below his career average of 44.3 in New York. More advanced metrics show he was not good with puck possession, posting a 43.2 CorsiFor percentage and a career-high 57.6 defensive zone starting percentage.
As tenacious as he plays, Andersson doesn’t do much physically. He’s only registered nine blocked shots and eight hits on the season. In the series final against Saint-Louis, he criticized Gabe Vilardi for being shouldered in the middle of the ice and tackled a Dakota joshua. The latter did a quick job of Andersson, but you have to love the effort.
Lias Andersson, with Alex Iafallo and Vilardi, were quite the trio over the course of several games, including four against the Colorado Avalanche. The three accounted for a 52.9 xGF% in just over 67 minutes of ice time together, per MoneyPuck.
The first order of business will be to secure a new contract, as Andersson will become a restricted free agent at the end of the league year. Evolving Hockey is projecting the 22-year-old to secure a one-year contract worth just under $ 1 million, which could end up being his last chance before becoming an unrestricted free agent.
I would expect him to have a weak grip on the Kings line with Iafallo and Vilardi since these three played so well in a small sample. However, next year will be crucial for Andersson to produce. As a former seventh overall pick, he hasn’t lived up to expectations of a top ten pick, so he’ll need to find more consistency and make the scoresheet more often than he has. done in 2021.