The Islanders are getting a ton out of Anders Lee to start the 2021 season. He’s leading the team with 10 goals and is shooting at a much more normal 14.7 percent. Last year, he was down to just 10.3 percent and panic rose.
The thought was that Anders Lee at age 29 was just about done. Power forwards can’t possibly be productive at age 30.
What was ignored was the outlier power play numbers. He had just two power play goals last year and shot at an insanely low 7.14 percent. His previous four seasons he averaged a 19.76 shooting percentage, a huge difference.
He’s rebounded nicely and last night netted the game-winning goal for the Islanders in the third period.
Just a typical Anders Lee goal. He went down low and put himself in a good position to beat Aaron Dell. With that goal, it put Anders Lee in some elite company in Islanders history. According to Stats Centre, he is now fourth among wingers in game-winning goals for the Islanders.
The only three players in front of him, Bob Nystrom, Clark Gillies, Mike Bossy, all have their numbers retired by the team. Plus, the winger he just passed, Derek King did it in 11 years with the Islanders while Lee has only played eight so far.
I don’t think this necessarily means that Anders Lee is the fourth-best winger in team history, but what it does mean is we have to take Lee’s time with the team a little more seriously.
Maybe it’s because their careers are still going on, but oftentimes it feels like Anders Lee and Josh Bailey in particular are discounted as players when looking at all-time Islanders. Sure, they don’t have the championships (yet) but there’s no denying that both of these players are two of the most important 21st century Islanders.
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With five more years on his deal, Anders Lee has a chance to do even more damage and continue to climb this list.