New York Islanders captain Anders Lee is still without a contract and will enter the free agency interview period. What does this mean?
For the second year in a row, the New York Islanders are at risk for losing their captain. Granted, the situations are vastly different, but it appears that Anders Lee will be talking with other teams this week as free agency inches closer.
In a conversation with NHL.com, Anders Lee was very candid about the free agency experience:
"“I didn’t think we’d get to this point. The process hasn’t … I haven’t enjoyed it, but it is what it is. We want to make sure that everything is done right and it’s right for both of us, for both sides. I hope it works out. They’re working on it right now.”"
Arthur Staple told us earlier in the month that the hold up was the years. The Islanders are looking at closer to five years while Anders wants seven or eight years. The AAV of the contract doesn’t seem to be the issue, it’s the years.
While seven years might be hard to justify, a six-year deal (which is more than the Islanders seemed to want to do) would be a fair compromise for both sides. For what feels like forever, I’ve been saying a six-year $42 million ($7 million AAV) deal makes the most sense.
Just last year, James van Riemsdyk signed a five-year deal with a $7 million AAV at age 29 which is what Anders turns on July 3. Over the last three years, Anders Lee has 102 goals which is 13th most over that span. For that, Lee and his camp deserve the extra year as a compromise.
JVR is 21st on this list, and Jeff Skinner is 14th on the list (two comparable players). Jeff Skinner, who is two years younger, just got an eight-year deal so you can justify not going a full eight for Lee (taking him through his age 36 season), but six years taking him through 34 is more than fine.
The revisionist history is coming out on Twitter, now that there’s a chance that Anders Lee doesn’t stay with the Islanders. “He’s easily replaceable”, “He can’t skate”, “He doesn’t make others around him better”.
Well, the Islanders biggest issue is goal scoring and letting someone who has 102 goals in the last three years walk away over an extra year on a contract would be a huge mistake. Outside of Artemi Panarin, the free agent class is nothing to write home about and you’re likely not getting someone who can score like Lee can.
The Islanders need to figure out how to get Lee to come back AND add one more piece to the top-six. If they lose out on Lee and only add one more piece, the offseason would take a huge hit.