The focus for the New York Islanders has to be the here and now in regards to making the playoffs and at least securing home ice for the first round of the playoffs. However, General Manager and team President, Lou Lamoriello always has to keep an eye on the big picture as well. In that vein, the Isles must resign Anders Lee.
This past training camp, the New York Islanders named Anders Lee captain. With Lee on the last year of his contract and a pending unrestricted free agent, one has to figure the Isles fell that Anders would be a long-term fixture on Long Island.
Strong Contributor for Many Years
Anders has been a homegrown gem for the Islanders organization. Lee was a 6th round pick in the 2009 Draft. Give the scout who said to draft Anders a bonus.
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After developing at the University of Notre Dame, Anders has been a strong contributor for the blue and orange for the last few years.
In scoring the game-winning goal the other night versus Montreal, Anders hit the 25-goal mark for the third consecutive season. If Lee can score four more goals in the final 11 games he would have tallied at least 30 goals a season the last three years.
But the six-foot-three, 231 pound winger brings a lot more to a team that just scoring goals. In addition to being a highly productive player Lee has been a leader on and off the ice and has earned high praise from his teammates. That’s why it was a no-brainer for Lou Lamoriello and Barry Trotz to name him captain.
It feels like the Islanders and Lee have been talking contract for quite some time, going back to training camp. It appears the final hurdle is the length of the captain’s new deal.
Come early July, Lee turns 29. Because of that in a perfect world, Lou and the Isles probably would like Anders new deal to be five years in terms of length. Odds are it will take at least six years to get a new contract finalized. The average annual value will probably fall between $6 – $6.5 million.
Not comparing Anders to John Tavares but the Islanders cannot lose their captain two years in a row to free agency. Because of how things played out with Tavares right or wrong the Islanders cannot lose Lee to free agency come July 1st.
At the end of the day, Lou will have to give Lee an extra year more than he is comfortable with. Lee has been one of the top performers for the Islanders these last few years and he is now one of the main faces of the franchise. Simply put he must be resigned.