Time for Anders Lee to show Islanders what he can do
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Anders Lee packed a lot into the two games he played for the Islanders in April.
A goal on his first NHL shot, plus an assist on the game-winner in his second game. He was also on the ice for all four goals opponents scored in those two games, forced to learn the very hard way about body and stick positioning and the ways in which a rookie can be exposed from his very first shifts.
"I learned a lot that last month of the season and hopefully it will set me up for a good camp," Lee said after the second day of the Islanders' prospect camp at Nassau Coliseum Wednesday. "With how things are, I need to prove myself right away and be ready to go wherever I'm at."
It's a simple equation for Lee, who turned 23 last week. He has one year left on the two-year, $3.5 million deal he signed at the beginning of April, after his junior season at Notre Dame ended. The Islanders did not "slide" the first year of the deal to this coming season even though Lee played fewer than six games.
So the time is drawing near for Lee to show he can be a reliable wing who plays well at both ends of the ice. He already showed in prospect camp two summers ago that he can handle himself against the younger age bracket, but September will be his real opportunity to show that he can be a power forward who can secure a spot in the lineup every game.
"For some of the young guys, it's more what they do away from the puck that gets noticed," coach Jack Capuano said. "I expect [Lee] to show what we want him to do."
It would have been a lot to expect Lee to jump in after a college season and adapt to the pro game -- in the middle of a playoff chase no less. So he played twice, sat the remaining 11 regular-season games and then headed back to South Bend to complete his classes while the Isles fell in six games to the Penguins in the playoffs.
"Thrown in there, you have to learn on your feet and be ready to react. It's a learning process," Lee said. "It's good to just take a step back."
Now he's ready to move forward.
Notes & quotes: Josh Bailey filed for salary arbitration, one of 21 NHL players to do so. Bailey's agent and the Islanders have been trying to agree on a multiyear deal and will continue to do so.