Lee, a 24-year-old (he turns 25 this Friday) who scored 25 goals in his first full season with the team, is the first of three Isles RFAs expected to sign this summer. The Islanders will look to lock up Thomas Hickey and Brock Nelson next.
Drafted in the sixth round of the 2009 draft, Lee spent three years at Notre Dame before joining the Islanders AHL affiliate in Bridgeport. He was called up late in the season and scored nine goals in 22 games, mainly by parking his 6'-3" frame in opposing creases.
Last year, he had 25 goals and 16 assists, and spent some time next to John Tavares after Kyle Okposo went down with his eye injury. Lee also logged a lot of time on the "Kid Line" with Ryan Strome and Brock Nelson, despite being older than the team captain.
Here's Lee from the official release:
"I'm extremely excited to finalize this deal and ensure that I'm a New York Islander for the next four seasons," Lee said. "The organization has been nothing but first class to me from the moment I was drafted. I look forward to competing for the Stanley Cup in each year while playing in front of the best fans in the NHL."
Because there has to be bad news, here it is: Notoriously, Lee found himself a healthy scratch for a game in the playoffs, which didn't help the Islanders against the Capitals. This contract only buys out one UFA year, after which Lee will surely bolt for another, more glamorous team to play for a coach that won't scratch him in the playoffs. Over three million is an awful lot for guy with only one full season under his belt so clearly the Islanders got suckered like they always do.
Does that about cover it?
Good. Because the truth is that Anders Lee is a big strong dude that drives possession and scores goals for the New York Islanders. His new contract allows them to sign their other two RFAs now and leaves room at the top for more. He was scouted, drafted very late, allowed to finish his college career, given prep time in the AHL and is, arguably, the first line winger for Tavares that people have been searching for since Tavares was in elementary school.
And he'll wear blue and orange until 2019.
Here's the breakdown by year:
#isles extension for Anderson Lee 2015-2016: $2m 2016-2017: $3,5m 2017-2018: $4,5m 2018-2019: $5,0m— Tim Wharnsby (@TimWharnsby) June 30, 2015
Lee on his disappointing final games:
Anders Lee tells me G6/7 scratch didn't change view of #Isles. "That had nothing to do with where I want to be. This has been home for me."— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) June 30, 2015