The New York Islanders and Ander Lee still haven’t come to terms on a contract extension why not? What’s the hold-up?
The New York Islanders and captain Anders Lee have been negotiating a contract extension all season long. But with just a month before he becomes an unrestricted free agent they still haven’t come to terms on a deal.
It’s hard to think that Lee is allowed to walk in free agency. If he does it would be the Islanders second captain in as many years to walk in free agency. It’s not a good look for a franchise that’s trying to re-brand itself as a destination.
But New York Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello isn’t about to let narrative dictate contract negotiations.
Term or No Term
Anders Lee is one of the better goal scorers in the NHL at the moment. His 102 goals over the last three seasons rank him 13th in the NHL. His quality is clear.
Anders Lee wants to stay and the Islanders want him to stay as well. So why hasn’t a deal been done exactly?
As Arthur Staple (subscription required) put it, the lack of a deal comes down to term. Lee and his agent Neil Sheehy want a longer term than the New York Islanders are willing to give him.
"What seems clear is that Lee and his agent, Neil Sheehy, think that contract should last seven years, while Lamoriello likely wants it to last five years, or perhaps even four"
The easy comparable for Anders Lee’s next contract is James van Riemsdyk. The power forward signed a five-year $35 million deal ($7 million AAV) with the Philadelphia Flyers in free agency last season.
Lee is a better player and is, of course, the team captain. But two extra years is a lot. With everything we know about player aging curves in the NHL, having a 35-year-old on the cap, making what is expected to be a $7 million AAV isn’t a good return on investment.
And Lou clearly knows this.
Just because Lee was named captain at the start of the season doesn’t mean that Lou, and the Islanders, have to pay a premium when it comes to the term. They have to keep the teams long-term interests in mind.
It might be unfortunate to hear that Lou has this hypothetical line with Lee and the term of his contract because it’s a player we all love, but that’s what world-class management does. They won’t give Lee something that isn’t in the best interest of the club. And that’s great.