New York Islanders Pending Free Agents Overview
Anders Lee, LW
Are the Islanders really about to lose their captain for a second straight year? Hopefully, the answer is no.
Although Lee did not score 40 goals like last season, or even 34 like two seasons ago, he still lead the team with 28 this year. Additionally, Lee compiled 23 assists along with those 28 goals to total 51 points while playing in every game this season.
Although Lee can score during the regular season, he struggles during the playoffs. This year, he only scored one goal in eight games. In 2014-15, he scored no goals in five games and was ultimately benched.
However, Lee’s decreased goal production this season and during the playoffs is not entirely his fault.
Lee is not a sniper, he is a power forward/grinder type player that goes to the front of the net for deflections and to bury rebounds.
For Lee to score, his linemates need to know how to shoot for deflections and rebounds. Unfortunately, not many of his teammates know how to do this, with the exception of Josh Bailey who Trotz separated from Lee this season.
Ultimately, at 28 years old, Lee will most likely be asking for a deal lasting at least six years and with an average salary of $6 million. However, for the better of the team, Anders may be willing to take less money or structure his deal where most of his salary is through signing bonuses.
Robin Lehner, G
At 27 years old (turning 28 in July), Lehner has had several impressive seasons during his career. However, none compare to this one.
During this past off-season, Lehner was the last goalie available in free agency. He just had one of the worst seasons in his career, playing in 53 games (starting 50), winning just 14 of them, posting a .908 save percentage (SV%) and 3.01 goals against average (GAA), and having a quality start percentage (QS%) of .480.
However, Lamoriello still saw the potential in Lehner and decided to offer him a one-year, $1.5 million deal this off-season. After signing his contract with the Islanders, Lehner would come out publicly about his battles with mental illness and drug addiction and abuse. Lehner would conquer his demons and run with this opportunity.
Platooning with Thomas Greiss, Lehner would play in 46 games (starting 43), post career highs in wins with 25 and shutouts with six, post a .930 SV% and 2.13 GAA and have a .605 QS%. Ultimately, due to Lehner’s remarkable season, he was named one of three finalists for the Vezina Trophy — awarded to the best goalie in the NHL, voted by the general managers of each team.
Lehner would also be the go-to man in the playoffs, starting all eight games and recording a .936 SV%, 2.00 GAA, and .875 QS%.
As you can see, Lehner has dramatically increased his worth since signing that one-year, $1.5 million deal this past off-season. Because of his recent success, Lehner is arguably one of the best goalies in the NHL, and if he hits the open market, may be the most sought after goalie or free agent in general.
Overall, Lehner’s value can be seen around $4.75-6 million per year for three to five years. Obviously, how much Lehner gets depends on if he hits the open market.
Although Lehner had an outstanding season, Lamoriello may not be so quick to re-sign him. Lehner has a trend of declining in performance each year he remains on the same team. Also, re-signing Lehner may decrease the chances of top Russian goalie and Islanders prospect, Ilya Sorokin, from coming over and playing for the Isles.
So, if Lou is looking at the future and wants to remain young, he may go on the search for a suitable backup for Greiss and let Lehner walk so there are spots for Sorokin and other Islanders goalie prospect, Linus Soderstrom.