Amid the Islanders success this season, one player who really surprised a lot of people is forward Anders Lee. Following last season where he posted 14 points in 22 games, Lee signed a 1 year qualifying offer over the summer instead of signing a cheap long-term deal because he thought he would be able to get more money this summer. This season, he proved himself right as he posted 25 goals and 41 points in his first full NHL season. It wasn’t even a full season because Lee didn’t break camp with the team and wasn’t called up until late October. With all this said though, has Lee earned a long-term contract? If so, what should it look like?
Even before this season, one thing Lee showed he was quite good at, no matter the level he played was putting the puck to the back of the net. That didn’t step at the NHL level this season as Lee had 25 goals in 76 games. The growth we saw from Lee as the season progressed was really something special to watch. His clutch goal scoring ability has been something to behold as well with him being in the top half of the league in terms of game winning goals and near the top of the league in-game winning goals among rookies. Lee has proved to be a very crucial member of the Islanders this season and I don’t think he will have to be concerned about making the team in October .
Lee has some elements to his game that would be sorely missed if he wasn’t in the Islanders lineup. For one, his ability to tip the puck has proved to be impressive and valuable for the Islanders this season. His excellent skill at doing this has given the team the freedom to try things offensively they may not have otherwise been able to try. Much in the same vein, his net front presence is something that is sorely missed throughout the rest of the Islanders lineup. Lee has made the front of the net his office like nobody else on the team has and it has really come in handy for him throughout the course of his 25 goal rookie campaign. If he is able to build on this season in coming years, the Islanders could have a special player on their hands in Lee.
Will He Be Here Long Term?
Honestly, I will be surprised if he isn’t signed to a contract extension this off-season and rightfully so because Lee has earned it. The fact that Lee refused to sign long-term last year and instead took a 1 year deal shows you a lot about the person he is and belief he has in himself. I am not sure about you, but those are the type of people I want on my team. The ability to believe in yourself like Lee did shows great leadership qualities that could be passed on to teammates especially as Lee becomes more established in the league. Ultimately, I feel as though Lee will end up signing a 3-4 year contract worth in the ball park of 2-2.5 million per season. That is a contract that I feel is fair for both sides as Lee continues to grow as a person and player. Additionally, the Islanders lock up a potential star power forward at a very fair rate.