Islanders in Review is assessing every player from the 2021-22 New York Islanders season. We’ll be looking at the highs and lows they experienced during the just-completed campaign, as well as what the future holds for them on the island. Today, we feature winger Anders Lee:
2021-22 totals (GP-G-A-P): 76-28-18-46
Contract Status: Four years remaining with a $7 million AAV
New York Islanders captain Anders Lee worked hard over the 2021 summer after tearing his ACL back in mid-March. Like it was for many Islanders, it was a slow start to the regular season for Anders Lee. But as the season went on and his knee got stronger, Lee started to produce and did not stop. Before the All-Star break, Lee had 15 points (11 goals, 4 assists) in 34 games. In 42 games post the All-Star break, Lee notched 31 points in 42 games (17 goals, 14 assists).
Lee’s 28 goals ranked second on the Islanders, behind his new first-line linemate Brock Nelson, who scored 37 goals.
What makes Lee successful is his ability to win puck battles in the corners and establish himself at the front of the net. And what led to his struggles early on this past season was his inability to play his brand of hockey. Was he hesitant because of the knee?
Regardless of the reason, once he got comfortable, he played the brand of hockey the New York Islanders needed.
Anders Lee just finished off his fourth season as the captain of the New York Islanders, and this season may have been the toughest. The Islanders underperformed and missed the playoffs for the first time since his no. 27 jersey donned the “C”. More often than not, after every game, Anders Lee was at the podium, not shying away from questions, keeping it real, which we as the media appreciate immensely.
With Zoom being the norm for three-fourths of the season, player interactions were slim. But during one of our in-person postgame media availabilities, Anders Lee approached me after leaving the podium to answer one of my questions further because he did not feel he gave enough credit to his team.
ANDERS LEE’S QUOTE:
“It was nice to feel more like myself, you know, away from that stuff, and as a result of feeling more like myself, that stuff came. You know, it comes hand in hand. So, I definitely am pleased with where I got to, a little bit towards the, you know, second half of the year and how I started to feel and settle in and get back to my game, so that’s for sure absolutely reassured.”
ANDERS LEE’S 2021-22 HIGHLIGHTS
March was not just special this past season because it was my 24th birthday. It was also the month when Anders Lee was more than a point per game player. In 16 games, Lee scored 11 goals with nine assists for 20 points.
From Mar. 7 to Mar. 13, Anders Lee scored in six straight games, with nine total goals over that span.
Anders Lee recorded his first career hat trick during that span, which came on Mar. 10 in a 6-0 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets.
It might have taken awhile for Anders Lee to net his first career NHL hat trick but, he did it in style at home and had Jiggs on the call!! 🙌 pic.twitter.com/L2QiQnIEC2
— Isles on MSG+ (@IslesMSGN) March 11, 2022
ANDERS LEE’S 2021-22 LOWLIGHTS
As mentioned above, Anders Lee had a slow start to the season.
After scoring on opening night, he scored just seven goals over the next 19 games, including two two-goal games.
Four times this season, Lee went six or more games without a goal, reaching as high as nine games without finding the back of the net.
One of the lowest points of the season, disappointing parts, was that Anders Lee was unable to play in the first-ever game at UBS Arena on Nov. 20 as he was placed in COVID-19 protocol the night prior.
WHAT DOES HIS ISLANDER FUTURE HOLD?
Anders Lee will be entering his age 33 season, a season that will be rather important for all members of New York given the 2021-22 letdown. With the amount of success Lee had with Nelson from late February on, it is likely that first-year head coach Lane Lambert would keep that duo together.
As mentioned above, Lee got strong and stronger as this season went on, and his production showcased that Lee has more in the tank than some probably thought. Although Lee will likely never reach the 40-goal mark that we saw in 2017-18, this season showed that he can still be a consistent 25-plus goal scorer in this league.
For the first time in quite some time, Lee will have an entire offseason to rest, which is ultra-important, especially after his significant injury. And when training camp rolls around, Lee will be as healthy as he has been.