It would easy to attribute the NHL naming Anders Lee as February's Rookie of the Month to John Tavares.
After Kyle Okposo hit the IR with a detached retina, Lee was given the prime spot riding shotgun with Tavares and Josh Bailey on the Islanders first line. That meant more opportunities and a bump to first unit power play time. Jack Capuano could probably skate a 250-pound bluefin tuna next to Tavares and it would score a half dozen goals, right?
But Islanders fans know that Lee isn't a one-month wonder. He's been stellar all season and is an integral part of the Islanders' heavy puck possession style. He's also frequently found parking his large frame in front of opposing goalies and blocking out the sun. He scored 10 goals in an impressive late-season call up at the end of the lost 2013-14 season.
Lee's seven goals and eight assists in February led all rookies. He currently has 20 goals on the season, three behind rookie leader Mike Hoffman of Ottawa and one back of Nashville's Filip Forsberg, possibly the Calder Trophy favorite.
Lee, a sixth round pick in 2009, is a restricted free agent at the end of this season and it's highly likely he'll be getting a raise from his current $850,000 salary.
Thirty goals in 82 career games, an RFA under team control. Now a first liner and Rookie of the Month. This is just the beginning for Lee. It's nice to hold on to your prospects.