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New York Islanders: Projection on Anders Lee Contract Extension

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 22: Anders Lee #27 of the New York Islanders reacts during the second period against the Philadelphia Flyers during their game at Barclays Center on November 22, 2017 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 22: Anders Lee #27 of the New York Islanders reacts during the second period against the Philadelphia Flyers during their game at Barclays Center on November 22, 2017 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
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The New York Islanders are said to be in talks with Anders Lee over a contract extension. What could that contract look like for a 40 goal scorer?

According to the Fourth Line’s David Pagnotta, the New York Islanders and Anders Lee are having contract talks. The 28-year-old 40 goal scorer is currently in the last year of his contract. With goals being a premium in the NHL it makes sense to extend Anders Lee.

But what does that contract extension look like?

Sure, Anders Lee has scored a ton of goals recently, but he’s also 28-years-old. How can each factor into the decision of how much to pay him and for how long?

Hard to Find Comparables

Anders Lee is in the final year of a four-year $15 million contract he signed back in the summer of 2015. Since then he’s gone on to score 89 goals over three seasons, ranking Lee as 12th in the league in goals since 2015-16.

Lee is one of the best power forwards in the game. His ability to use his size and strength to create space in front of the net combined with his incredible hand-eye coordination is second to none in the NHL.

Lee has the ability to deflect and tip pucks like Joe Pavelski mixed with the tenacity, determination, and strength of Wayne Simmonds.

So when James Van Riemsdyk a power forward like Anders Lee signed a $35 million five-year deal ($7 million AAV) with the Philadelphia Flyers as a free agent this summer, the bar on Lee’s deal was set.

Van Riemsdyk plays the same type of game as Lee. But it’s fair to say that Van Riemsdyk with his 65 goals over the last two seasons hasn’t been as good as Lee in terms of goal scoring. To be fair, JVR actually has two more points than Lee over the last two seasons.

With Tavares gone and the Islanders sitting with a ton of cap space, Lee won’t have the same institutional pressure to help out the team that Josh Bailey had when he signed his deal. Signing for less than $7 million a year doesn’t seem plausible.

In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if Lee gets the exact same deal as Van Riemsdyk. At 29-years-old by the time the deal kicks in, the same age as JVR when his new deal started, Lee would be only 34 when it expires.

Ideally, the Islanders should try to keep the deal between three to four years and limit the number of years they’re paying big money for an aging player.

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It’s wise for the New York Islanders to be discussing a contract extension with Anders Lee. There’s no reason to think he can’t repeat as a 40 goal scorer for a few more years. They might have to pay market value, but that’s fine for a player who’s top five in goal scoring recently.

An AAV of $7 million is a fair price to pay. A five-year deal might be a year too long. But if that’s the cost of signing him I’m OK with it.

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