Islanders: Anders Lee Expectations For 2021-2022
By Matt O'Leary
After a down year in 2019-2020, Anders Lee came flying out of the gate for the New York Islanders in the 2021 season. He started the first 27 games with 12 goals and seven assists for 19 points.
He had just two power play goals the year prior (in 68 games) and took a step forward to three in just 27 to start the year. He was on pace for arguably his second-most productive season in his career.
Unfortunately, Lee suffered an ACL injury after getting tangled up and falling uncomfortably in a game against the New Jersey Devils.
That play ended his season and the Islanders were forced to play without their best goal scorer for the remainder of the season. Barry Trotz was tasked with trying to find a replacement for Lee up on the top line and it did not go too well.
He ended up landing on Leo Komarov who held down the role down the stretch and through the entirety of the playoffs. With all due respect to Leo, he isn’t a top-line player, finishing the regular season and postseason with a combined 11 points (1 goal, 10 assists) in 52 games.
Lee returning to the top line should help Mat Barzal return to form offensively. Here are my expectations for him in 2021-2022.
Anders Lee expectations for 2021-2022
As stated previously, it was a resurgent year for Lee who saw his goal and point total rise but the advanced numbers were in his favor as well. He had a 55.5 CF%, a 64.9 GF%, and a 63.2 HDCF% according to Natural Stat Trick.
If he’s in the same vicinity, he should look to put up similar numbers to what he did last year. In a full season, my expectation for Lee is 54 points (30 goals, 24 assists) playing top-line minutes with Mat Barzal.
Lee has a career 13.9 shooting percentage, so let’s assume if he’s around that mark again this upcoming year, then he should generate somewhere around 216 shots. Expect somewhere between 8-10 of his goals to be on the power play.
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Somehow, without their captain and best goal scorer, the Islanders went to Game 7 of the semi-final. Will he be the missing piece in 2022? If he plays to this level of production, which we know he can, you can make a very strong case for it.