In a release following Anderson's hiring, the Thrashers noted that he coached Atlanta's American Hockey League affiliate, the Chicago Wolves, to the 2008 Calder Cup Championship last week.
Anderson had coached the Wolves since the 2001 season, guided Chicago to the Calder Cup title in 2002 and also captured the International Hockey League's Turner Cup in 1998 and 2000.
"There's no doubt that we had a great pool of candidates to pick from and John brings a wealth of experience to the table," said Thrashers General Manager Don Waddell. "I think it's a great move for our franchise and it puts our franchise in the position to take the next step."
Anderson enjoyed a 12-year NHL playing career from 1977-1989.
Hartley was fired and replaced by Waddell when Atlanta lost its first six games last season.