While at the University of Minnesota, Anderson helped the team to an NCAA hockey championship in 1976. His coach was Herb Brooks, and his defense partner was Reed Larson. When he got to Pittsburgh in the NHL, Anderson was teamed on the blueline with Ron Stackhouse, another talented offensive player assigned to play with the defensive-minded Anderson. He stayed in Pittsburgh for six seasons, averaging more than 100 penalty minutes a year.
During his first year, he dislocated both shoulders and needed a double operation at season's end, and during another season he broke the same finger three times as a result of various punch-ups. In one game, on January 19, 1980 he was assessed a total of nine penalties and 51 penalty minutes.
Midway through 1981-82, he was traded to Hartford with a low draft choice for Rick MacLeish and in the summer of 1983 he signed with Los Angeles. Although his team made the playoffs three of his first four years, they also missed the playoffs in each of his last five. Anderson retired in 1985.