Islanders: Looking back at three shifted mid-season expectations

New York Rangers v New York Islanders
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Anders Lee
New York Islanders v Montreal Canadiens / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages

Anders Lee

February expectation
Help set up goals more. It was really as simple as that for me. I know that Lee scores more goals than he sets up. His assist numbers will typically fall below his goal numbers. Only twice in his career has did he manage more assists than goals.

But by the time I wrote my piece in February, Lee had six helpers to his name. Just six. That's a pace of 12 over a full season. Not enough. So my expectation was for him to hit 12 helpers over the remainder of the season.

What he did
I'm pretty happy to see he did exactly that. Like right on the button. I wanted 12 helpers from Lee the rest of the way and 12 helpers is what he produced.

Through the next 34 games of his season, Lee scored 12 helpers to push him to 18 on the season. Perfection.

(He also scored 15 goals for an excellent 27 points in 34 games. A pace of 65 points over a full season. Lee hit another gear through the second half of the year. Amazing to see from anyone, but specifically the captain who was out there leading by example.)

Is it sustainable?
Maybe not quite. That 12 helpers over 34 games is a pace of 29 assists over a year. Lee has never done that in his career. His best return was in 19-20 when he scored 20 goals and 23 assists in 68 games.

Obviously, I want Lee to sustain that production rate. But I'm not going into 2022-23 thinking Lee is going to be just as productive as he was down the stretch 21-22. He might come close, but what we saw near the end of this season isn't the normal Anders Lee. He found another gear when his team needed it.

Another reason why he was an excellent choice to be team captain.