Anders Lee of the Islanders is assisted off the ice...

Anders Lee of the Islanders is assisted off the ice following a first period injury against the Devils at the Nassau Coliseum on Thursday. Credit: Getty Images/Bruce Bennett

NEWARK – Every NHL team deals with injuries, so the players are well-versed in how to deal with them. Contributions are sought from elsewhere in the lineup and feeling sorry about the situation is forbidden since it serves no constructive purpose.

And there’s no doubt that’s how the Islanders are planning to handle Anders Lee’s extended absence, which began with Saturday night’s game against the Devils at Prudential Center. Lee suffered a right-leg injury in the first period of Thursday night’s 5-3 win over the Devils at Nassau Coliseum and is out indefinitely.

Still, this one feels just a little different.

"You’re not going to replace Anders Lee, he’s a very unique player," coach Barry Trotz said. "He’s a leader. We’ve done everything by committee for the most part. It will take a village to fill a void. We have the group that’s willing to do that and can do that."

Lee is the Islanders captain with an indomitable spirit – Josh Bailey called him the "heartbeat" of the team – and was leading the team with 12 goals as the top-line left wing and net-front presence on the first power-play unit.

Plus, Lee, in the second season of a seven-year, $49 million deal, is never hurt. Saturday snapped his ironman streak at 295 straight games dating to Jan. 24, 2017, the eighth longest streak in the NHL and the third-longest in Islanders’ history.

"A lot of guys have been around a little while here," Cal Clutterbuck said. "We’ve kind of always done it by committee. He’s the head of the snake when he’s in. But there’s a lot of experience here, guys who know how to handle situations. We’ve got a pretty good core group of guys that know what’s up, so we’ll try to pick up the slack without him."

"He’s a huge, important part of our team," linemate Jordan Eberle said. "He’s been playing really well and trending his game in the right direction. He’s our emotional leader. It’s definitely a tough loss but we’ve always done things by committee. That’s the way we’re looking at this."

It may take a few games for Trotz to get a better idea of exactly which players will be in the committee to fill Lee’s ice time.

He said his preference was to not disrupt his other lines too much, if possible.

Trotz, when asked, did say he trusted rookie Oliver Wahlstrom enough defensively to potentially consider him for a top-line audition with Mathew Barzal, though both Wahlstrom and Eberle are right wings.

Left wing Michael Dal Colle, Wahlstrom’s frequent linemate with Jean-Gabriel Pageau, could be another option, though the fifth overall pick in 2014 has just two assists through his first 15 games this season. But, like Lee, Dal Colle uses his body well at the net, along the boards and on the forecheck and would be good at retrieving pucks for Barzal and Eberle.

Trotz also mentioned rookie Kieffer Bellows as a possibility. But Bellows, without a point in his first eight games this season, had played just once since Jan. 30 – on Feb. 18 – because of concerns about his defensive work.

But if Lee truly is out for the long-term – and Trotz provided no further update on Saturday – president and general manager Lou Lamoriello will likely need to pursue a trade.

"He’s unique in his body type," Trotz said. "He’s special when it comes to leadership. He’s still the captain and he’ll still have a presence. But we’re going to miss him on the ice. He’s one of the top four or five guys in the NHL at net front."

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