Anders Lee 2020-21 season: Torn ACL
The most recent example of a huge loss to the Isles' lineup was when Anders Lee tore his ACL in March of 2021 against the New Jersey Devils. Lee was the leading goal scorer at the time for the team during the pandemic-shortened season with 12 goals.
Even though Lee obviously had to get surgery, he reportedly started skating about a month after he got the operation, pushing his limits to the absolute max in an attempt to return before next season. The other reason was the captain being able to work out under his condition and lighting a fire in his teammates while doing so.
"People watch. You see him working every day, pushing himself to exhaustion, it has influence. If there was even a 0.00001 percent chance he could play in the playoffs, he was going to be ready for it. I really feel it sent a strong message to our team.- Barry Trotz on Lee
Nevertheless, this would prove to be a big blow for the Isles but could have ended worse for the team that was coming off of an impressive Eastern Conference Finals run in the 2020 playoff bubble. At the trade deadline, the Islanders acquired Kyle Palmieri to fill the hole that Lee's injury left, which ended up being exactly what they needed to get back to the conference finals, only to lose to the Tampa Bay Lightning for the second straight season.
Out of all five injuries we are mentioning, this proved to be the least costly towards what could have been a Stanley Cup Finals appearance for the blue and orange. Yes, they did not make it in the end, but they at least had to opportunity to bring in Palmieri as a replacement to get that close again, and he ended up being more than that when he re-signed in the offseason.