Islander rookie center Anders Lee has seen limited time with the big club so far this season, but continues to make his opportunity count.
Lee was one of three simultaneous call-ups following the conclusion of the Olympics, along with Ryan Strome and Mike Halmo. The trio formed the top line for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, and was one-two-three in scoring there. Halmo is a banger, a bit on the small side but scrappy and feisty and eager to please. Strome is among the bluest of blue chip prospects around the league, a sure-fire star. But in terms of production, it’s Lee who currently stands out.
In Tuesday’s game against Winnipeg it was Lee who, along with Strome, set up Colin McDonald for the tying goal, and then scored the go-ahead marker himself early in the second. He played over thirteen minutes, took a regular turn on the power play and looked anything but out of place.
A former sixth round pick in 2009, the 23-year-old American-born Lee has got great size and good hands. The Minnesota native’s ice time has been on the low side in the handful of games he’s appeared in over two seasons, but he makes the most of his time. After the Winnipeg game his totals are three goals and one assist for four points in four games played. Coupled with last season’s abbreviated appearance he’s averaging a point per game throughout the early stages of his NHL career.
Through 54 AHL games this season, Lee recorded 22 goals and 41 points, good for second in points behind Strome, and tops in goals. He handily leads the Bridgeport team in shots with 161.
In the long run, it’s a commonly held belief that Strome will far outstrip Lee in terms of offensive production. While that will almost certainly be the case, Lee seems poised to play a significant role in the offensive output of the Isles. While it might be blasphemous to go with certain comparisons, let’s say that Lee could eventually be the Okposo to Strome’s Tavares.
Prematurely lofty praise? Maybe so. But with so little to cheer for on Long Island these days, wouldn’t it be nice if it turned out that way?
– JP (@Joe_SoWhatElse)