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Islanders: A deep look at left wing depth

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PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - JANUARY 30: Anders Lee #27 of the New York Islanders skates during warm ups before the game against the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center on January 30, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - JANUARY 30: Anders Lee #27 of the New York Islanders skates during warm ups before the game against the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center on January 30, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
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Anders Lee #27 of the New York Islanders. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)

Anders Lee

Anyone reading this blog already knows who Anders Lee is. He’s the captain of the Islanders, the heart and soul of the team, and a leader on and off the ice. But a lot of non-Islanders fans might not realize just how good a hockey player he actually is.

In 2017-18, Lee scored 40 goals and 62 points in 82 games. Yes, you read that right – Anders Lee is a former 40 goal scorer. That year, he finished tied for 7th in goals, ahead of superstars like Nikita Kucherov, Nathan MacKinnon, David Pastrnak, and Anze Kopitar.

Everyone’s production took a hit when Barry Trotz became the head coach and instituted a tight defensive system, but Lee still scored 28 goals and 51 points in 2018-19, while improving his +/- rating from a -25 to a +20.

He had 20 goals and 43 points when the 2019-20 season was paused due to the pandemic but was on pace to match his previous year’s totals if the season had continued. And in the injury-shortened 2020-21 season, he was on pace for 36 goals and 58 points.

Advanced stats paint a similar picture – Lee has been above 55% in Corsi For % every year since 2013 and had jumped to 58.7% before his injury in 2020-21.

At age 31, Lee is not a young player anymore. But he’s certainly not old and has shown remarkable consistency in goals, points, and advanced stats during the entire Trotz era.

All signs point to the conclusion that Lee should be a productive first-line left wing, and the captain and leader of the team, for years to come.

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