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Anders Lee is another Islanders prospect who, like Kirill Petrov, has dropped in our Top 25 Under 25 in part due to "signability" concerns.
As an overager and one who played in the USHL before beginning play at NCAA Notre Dame, Lee falls into that Jason Gregoire/Kessel The Lesser loophole area where if he leaves college before graduating, he could make himself a free agent on June 1, 2013. (The official CBA language explaining this, so we're clear, is pasted below.)
There has been some talk that this loophole could be erased in the next CBA, but: 1) That's guesswork, with much bigger issues on the table, 2) Even if it happens, there could be a grandfather clause, 3) Like we really want to guess what the next CBA has in store or when it will be resolved?
Regardless, there's another reason for Lee's modest drop in our eyes: At age 21, his stats dipped a bit in his second year with the [Fighting Nationalities]. Now on all opponents' radars, Lee went from 24 goals and 44 points in 44 games during his freshman year to 17 goals and 34 points in 40 games his sophomore year. Much of that was due to a long mid-winter slump which followed a torrid start. Focused line matching? Nagging but unreported injuries?
Speculate what you will, but the drop in production goes in the file, the inclination to stay in school (for now) is also noted.
That said, Lee's physical tools are impressive, and playing in college it's not like his 6'2"+ frame is being used to pad stats while manhandling young junior teenagers. NCAA may not provide the hectic schedule that major juniors does, but it does provide a slate of opponents who generally have bigger, older, more developed bodies.
Lee battles well in the corners, positions smartly, and his main concern has always been his skating. The Islanders were interested in signing him this offseason before he declared his intentions to stay in school, so obviously they don't see his skating as a deal-breaker.
As for the loophole, it requires leaving college before your graduating class. He's always been very education-minded -- could that desire keep him enrolled in school to finish up his degree?
How We Voted
Note: For those LHH readers who sent their own selections in, JPinVA has them summarized in this FanPost. That one will be fun to measure against our panelists' results.
Panelists: CanadianIslesLifer making a return appearance, as well as most of the authors at LHH.
As he did with Petrov, CIL left Lee off his list entirely (or rather as an honorable mention) due to the loophole issue, and I think that's fine. It skews our results downward, but I think it helps represent a real-world concern -- similar to how KHL worries can depress a Russian player's stock in the draft. And similar to how Lee's actual draft stock in 2009 was depressed to the sixth round by his two-sport pursuit in high school.
Our slightly different panel had him at #9 last September, so the hope is high and signability and stat plateau are both at work here. Where, oh where will he be this time next year?
The Loophole as it Stands Now
Here is the CBA-ese, for those invested. Anders Lee was drafted in 2009. June 1, 2012 was the third June following his selection:
8.6 c (iii): If a Player drafted at age 18 or 19, who had received a Bona Fide Offer in accordance with Sect ion 8.6(a)(ii) above, becomes a bona fide college student prior to the second June 1 following his selection in the Entry Draft and remains a bona fide college student through the graduation of his college class, his drafting Club shall retain the exclusive rights of negotiation for his services through and including the August 15 following the graduation of his college class.
(iv) If a Player drafted at age 18 or 19, who had received a Bona Fide Offer in accordance with Sect ion 8.6(a)(ii) above, becomes a bona fide college student prior to the second June 1 following his selection in the Entry Draft and does not remain a bona fide college student through the graduation of his college class, his drafting Club shall retain exclusive rights for the negotiation of his services until the fourth June 1 following his selection in the Entry Draft.
You can see which other prospects just missed our top 25 in this preview post. Others:
- At #25 was 2011 pick John Persson
- #24 saw another Swede from 2011, Johan Sundstrom
- At #23, the irritant known as Justin DiBenedetto
- #22: Kirill Petrov, with an asterisk
- #21: Brenden Kichton, Western late bloomer
- Our September 2011 25U25 Poll Results
Disclaimer You'll See with Each 25U25 Post
To reflect the variety of ways you can place value on prospects with uncertain futures, we brought a range of philosophies to this: Some voters valued present talent/maturity more, some valued future potential more. All are averaged with the intent of capturing a moment in time in the evolution of the Islanders prospect pipeline.