In the first year of a seven-year extension with the New York Islanders, Anders Lee didn’t find the back of the net quite enough. Why was that?
On July 1, 2019, the New York Islanders inked Anders Lee to a seven-year contract extension after missing out on Artemi Panarin. The plan, allegedly, was to bring back Lee and also sign Panarin but after Panarin bolted to Manhattan the Isles settled on just Lee.
Through 68 games, Lee had just 20 goals when the season shutdown, putting him on pace for 24 goals which is not worth the price tag of $7 million a year.
The shots were there, his shooting percentage just was way down. He attempted 195 shots, a pace of 235 shots which would’ve been the most in his career. Lee’s career-high in shots, 208, came in 2018 when he had a 40 goal season and put up a 19.2 shooting percentage.
He was down to a 10.3 when this year abruptly halted. If he even finished the season with his career average of 13.8 percent on 235 shots he would be on pace for 32 goals which would make that price tag much more consumable.
See, Lee isn’t as effective if he isn’t scoring goals and as a power forward the concern is that the goals are going to dry up quickly, like what happened with Milan Lucic. One of the things that separates Milan and Anders is the number of shots Lee gets off.
In Lucic’s age 29 season he produced just 147 shots and shot at 8.1 percent. Lee was on pace to shoot 235 times, nearly 100 more times what Lucic was doing. So I don’t think this is a matter of Lee slowing down as much as it is Lee playing with the wrong people.
Anders Lee works best with Josh Bailey. This year, the pair has a 64.71 GF% with a 50.75 HDCF% according to Natural Stat Trick. On the other hand, when he’s with Mat Barzal and Jordan Eberle the GF% drops to a 47.83.
Anders Lee can’t keep up with Jordan Eberle and Mathew Barzal who are much quicker skaters and could likely benefit more from Anthony Beauvillier. Lee – Nelson – Bailey makes more sense from a skillset perspective.
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While ideally, you have a better LW up top with Barzal and Eberle, bumping Lee down to play with Bailey would get the most out of him. The Isles need to add but in order to maximize what they have, dropping Lee down a line should be a start.