Anders Lee was off to a hell of a start offensively for the New York Islanders. He had 19 points (12 goals, 7 assists) through the team’s first 27 games. Over 82 games, that’s paced out to 58 points and 36 goals.
Since Lee went down, the Islanders have genuinely struggled to produce offensively. His last game came on March 11, an Islanders win over the Devils. That was their seventh straight win and the Isles were 17-6-4 (.704 points percentage) at the time.
In their first 27 games, they were also averaging 2.96 goals per game. Since, the Isles have clearly not been the same. Their record is 12-8-1 (.595 points percentage) in the 21 games they’ve played since the injury.
When looking at goals for, they have an average of 2.67 over that stretch as well. It’s not the same team with Lee out of the lineup.
More specifically, with the Islanders top line, Mathew Barzal has felt the brunt of the Anders Lee loss. Barzal has 16 points in the 21 games, which is a pace of just 62 points over a full season. When Lee was in the lineup, Barzal had 23 points in 27 games which paces him out to 70 over a full season.
Looking at their more advanced numbers, the combination of Lee and Barzal was significantly more productive than Barzal by himself.
Off the ice, who would be better right now than having your captain to rally the troops. In their last eight, the team is 3-4-1 and could use a veteran leader right about now, as at times it looks like they’re just going through the motions.
Yesterday, I wrote about the Islanders needing more from Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac, which is true, but at the same time they also just miss their captain. Replacing Anders Lee clearly isn’t easy and we’re seeing that right now.