Anders Lee had a wild offseason. Lou Lamoriello and the Islanders thought they had snagged the best player on the market, Artemi Panarin, but Panarin took his talents to Manhattan. After careful deliberations between Neil Sheehy and Lamoriello, Lee eventually came back to Long Island on a seven-year, $49 million contract.
This regular season, Lee played well. In 68 games, Lee recorded 20 goals and 23 assists, supplementing his offense with above-average defensive play. He should have scored more but got unlucky — his expected goals number was high. Lee is the captain, a top-line forward and defensive leader, something few players in the NHL can say. So, how did he do this season?
Anders Lee finished the regular season strong, notching three points in his final three games. He shot the puck more, something the Islanders had worked on with Lee during training camp. Throughout the year, Lee scored some big goals and was a big body in front of the net.
However, Lee provides more value off the ice. Usually, this is a sentiment given to aging veterans at the end of the road, but Lee does so much as a captain. When John Tavares left, Lee was tasked with ushering the Islanders into a new era and that he has. Lee is a wonderful captain and represents the team perfectly.
Simply put, Lee needs to be better. For a $7 million player, all aspects of his game should be improved. 20 goals is good, but not vintage-Lee. When the playoffs come, Lee can make up for a mediocre year by scoring some big goals.
Coming off a big contract extension, Lee was expected to lead the Islanders. While some predicted Jordan Eberle to break out and lead the team in scoring, Lee was always the offensive leader behind Mat Barzal. Lee finished tied for third on the team in scoring, about where he was projected.
The Moment of the Season
Many players have their best moments of the season on the ice. But not Lee. When George Floyd was murdered, Lee stepped up to the plate, showing his support for the Black Lives Matter movement.
— Anders Lee (@leeberr09) June 1, 2020
Anders Lee is a good player and he was a good player last season. However, he can elevate his game to help the Islanders elevate as a team. Lee earns a B-.