The impasse in negotiations between the New York Islanders and captain Anders Lee is seemingly all down to term. But it seems that the Isles might be budging.
Losing their second captain to free agency in two years isn’t a great look for the New York Islanders. They’re trying to rebuild their brand and become a destination. Losing their captain again doesn’t help that goal.
With the free agency window effectively opening on June 26th, the New York Islanders only have two weeks to get their captain Anders Lee signed before other teams can talk to him.
From everything we know up to date, the hold up is due to the term of the deal. Arthur Staple originally reported (subscription required) that the Islanders wanted the contract to be four or five years. Anders Lee and his camp were looking for seven years.
But as the Arthur Staple checked in again today it seems that the Islanders might have softened their line on the term of the deal and are ready to compromise a bit.
Today, Staple wrote that the Islanders are comfortable with a deal between five and six years (subscription required) for the former 40 goal scorer.
"It’s believed that term continues to be the sticking point: Lee is looking for something in the 7-8 year range and the Islanders may be looking for something in the 5-6 year range, with the average annual value coming in somewhere around $6.5-$7 million."
After Jeff Skinner signed an eight-year $9 million contract extension with the Buffalo Sabres, it seems that the Islanders are willing to compromise on the term of the deal. Say what you will about the two players, but they are in fact comparable. Which means the contract one signs will impact the other.
Both the Islanders and Lee seem to want to stay together. To do that they’ll both have to compromise.
The New York Islanders and Lou Lamoriello seem to be willing to compromise on the term of the deal based on Staple’s reporting. A six-year deal still takes Lee to 35 years old. Skinner might be getting eight years, but he’s also two years younger than Lee. When Skinner’s deal is done he’ll also be 35 years old.
If Anders Lee wants to stay he’ll also need to compromise and meet at six years. In turn, perhaps Lee gets an extra $500,000 per year on the deal. Over six years that’s an extra $3 million for no better reason than he just waited them out.
Best of Luck
If that seventh year is non-negotiable then I wish Anders Lee the best of luck in free agency. He’ll likely get it from some other team out there.
From everything we know about aging curves, it doesn’t make sense to have players over 35 making the kind of money Lee will be on the books for. Especially not a player like Anders Lee.
We can see here that assists might not don’t drop off as dramatically as goal scoring does as player age. I shouldn’t need to tell you how problematic that is for a player whose goalscoring per game outpaces his assists per game by 0.108. That’s 1.43 goals per assist.
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Again, if getting a seven-year deal is the goal for Anders Lee, then I wish him the best in free agency. I’d hate to lose him. But the Islanders are being smart by not overextending Lee and giving him a seven-year deal.
Losing your captain to free agency a second year in a row sucks. But the New York Islanders are being smart here.