New York Islanders forward Anders Lee found an extremely creative way of letting everyone know he wasn’t going to be leaving the Islanders organization.
** Warning: Graphic language
The Anders Lee Deal
At $7 million over seven years, the Lee deal is fair for the Islanders compared to the rumors that were out there on what Lee might get from another team in free agency. The $7 million salary was also enough to keep Lee happy and right where he was.
Frank Seravalli of TSN reported that Lee would likely be moving on from the Islanders via free agency. The belief was a shift in the market meant Lee could see big money in free agency. Seravalli added that Lee could get at least $7.5 million annually, perhaps more.
As Monday’s free agency unfolded, and big contracts were handed out, Lee waited, took a look at the market and decided $500K wasn’t enough of a difference to pack his bags.
What Lee Is for the Islanders
With rumors that Islanders were hunting for big fish like Artemi Panarin, there was some uncertainty as to whether or not Lee would return. When Panarin chose the New York Rangers, the Islanders knew it might be best just to pay for what they knew they already had.
Lee, 28, scored 28 goals and posted 51 points in 82 games this past season with the New York Islanders. He was named the 15th captain of the Islanders at the beginning of the 2018-19 season and took a huge step forward in the absence of John Tavares who left the Islanders for the Toronto Maple Leafs one summer earlier.
Lee was finishing up a four-year contract worth $15 million. This contract will represent a significant raise.
The Islanders Might Not Be Done
Lee has 152 goals and 258 points in 425 NHL games. For some teams on Monday, signing a player of that caliber might have been enough. For others, it was more than they did. For the Islanders, it might be the start of things to come.
With over $13 million remaining in cap space and a roster nearly complete at this point, it’s about getting Robin Lehner re-signed or another goaltender in his place should Lehner take off in free agency. Speculation is, the Islanders might like to make upgrades at forward and on the blue line.
Lee, having committed seven years to the team is probably hoping they can keep improving their team as well. They certainly have the resources to do so.
Lee was described by Stan Fishcler as “A Captain’s Captain.” I’m certain that most — if not all — Isles fans will agree with that and have wanted him back in his leadership role. Ergo: There’s good news tonight.
If his video is any indication of how happy he is to be back with the team, Fishcler is probably right.