The New York Islanders re-signed their captain on July 1. What can they expect from Anders Lee in 2019-2020 production-wise?
After being named Captain of the 2018-2019 New York Islanders, it was no secret that Anders Lee’s numbers took a bit of a dive this past year. Some of this can be attributed to no longer playing on a top line featuring John Tavares, and some of this can be chalked up to Barry Trotz’s more defensive approach to the game.
The question becomes, it seems, how Trotz’s style of game highlighted the loss of Tavares and whether Lee’s regression had more to do with his own play or his linemates.
Possibly the easiest way to conjecture the effect of a Trotz coaching scheme on a team would be to analyze the 2014 Capitals. In glancing at the numbers of key Capitals players, Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin, their offensive production did not change. Alex Ovechkin, the teams’ most prolific scorer, maintained similar goal totals between 2013 and 2014.
However, The New York Islanders core is not as seasoned or as talented as the 2014 Capitals. Mathew Barzal will begin only his third season in 2019-2020 and Anders Lee is not a player who generally creates his own offense, but instead is a big body in front of the net, helping to provide key screens, tip-ins, and muscle in the scrums down low.
Barzal and Eberle
Barzal’s numbers are likely to improve in this coming campaign. His play had regained its flair by the end of the 2019 season. Jordan Eberle also struggled in his first year under coach Trotz, but by the end of the season and during the first round of the playoffs showed definite promise.
It is not unreasonable to assume that with the improvement of Barzal and Eberle within the system that they will get more pucks on net, thereby creating more opportunities for Lee who is expected to play on a line with them.
The New York Islanders have locked down their captain for another seven years. It’s time for Anders Lee to show them why they did. With the improvement of the play around him, this should be completely possible. My prediction is somewhere between the 30 and 35 goal mark in the 2019-20 campaign.