Anders Lee is coming off a career year with the New York Islanders. Will he continue his growth or will he decline without John Tavares on the top line?
The New York Islanders had their first 40 goal scorer since Jason Blake in 2006-2007 this past year with Anders Lee. Over the past two seasons, Lee has put up an impressive 74 goals putting him in the top five over that time.
This year things might be different because he will not have his normal center. What helped Lee so much was playing alongside John Tavares.
Both Josh Bailey and Lee were able to be the most productive with the superstar Tavares over the last two years. Who Lee is playing with is going to play a major role in their success this year.
The Isles have a couple of choices, the first they can either keep the top line the same as last year and promote Barzal to center it (Lee-Barzal-Bailey). That’s probably the most similar situation for both Bailey and Lee and will make them their most productive, but this scenario isn’t as likely.
Keeping the Beauvillier – Barzal – Eberle line seems to make sense because it was productive last year. That would bump Lee and Bailey to the second line that would be centered by either Brock Nelson or Jan Kovar.
If that’s the case expect their production to drop slightly. Kovar and Nelson aren’t the same type of center that Barzal or Tavares is. Another line combination that I’ve gotten excited about recently was one presented by Pete Jensen.
Jensen suggests Lee – Barzal – Eberle and Bellows – Beauvillier – Bailey as the top six. I’m here for it. I think you can keep everyone productive with those two lines and I’m a major fan of having Bellows on the roster and playing in the top six.
So let’s get to the nitty-gritty. What does Anders Lee’s stat line look like this year?
82 games played, 36 goals, 22 assists (58 points)
I think Lee drops in the 30’s in goals instead of finishing with 40 or more. Just because his goal total comes down a little bit doesn’t mean he isn’t productive. At some point this year Anders Lee will sign a seven-year $49 million contract.
Lee will likely be in the candidacy for the captain spot if he signs an extension. Lee’s the perfect guy to have on and off the ice.