New York Islanders stud rookie Anders Lee has delivered for a team that pushed him onto the top line by taking home NHL Rookie of the Month Honors.
One of the more gut wrenching moments for a hockey player is when he realizes he’s walking through that tunnel about to take the ice and face NHL players for the very first time in his life.
The kid has just made it to the main event.
Nowadays, sometimes we quickly find out if the kid is for real or not. 20 or 21 year old kids who look like they’ve never even picked up razor blade in their life are out puck-handling eight-year defenders. Filip Forsberg in Nashville comes to mind.
For the New York Islanders, Anders Lee is one of many young stallions on the active roster who’ve cemented the new culture on Long Island.
Sure he’s been up and down the previous two seasons, but he still holds rookie status and is cashing in.
Today he was recognized in a well deserved fashion as the NHL Rookie of the Month for February.
Early in the season Lee proved himself worthy of not only a roster spot, but incredibly deserving of Top-6 forward mention. When Kyle Okposo went down with his upper-body injury, head coach Jack Capuano felt no pause when sending the 24-year old youngster to the top line with captain John Tavares and Josh Bailey.
The move not only kept the top line the best scoring threat on the team, but it also allowed the rest of the lineup to stay balanced. The Isles second line of Frans Nielsen, Michael Grabner and Ryan Strome remains one of the strongest number-two groups in the league.
Jan 6, 2015; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; New York Islanders forward Anders Lee (27) skates against the Vancouver Canucks during the third period at Rogers Arena. The Vancouver Canucks won 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports
Lee piled up seven goals and eight assists in just 15 games in the month of February. The Minnesota native also recorded a pair of two-goal games and etched a career high four assist game on February 14 against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
While some are still pining for Capuano to make the call and put phenom Strome on the top line with Tavares, Lee has worked out with flying colors.
For the season Lee has netted 20 goals and 13 assists with a +13 in 58 total games.