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SportsHockeyIslanders

Islanders' Anders Lee, Jordan Eberle, seek to play without contract concerns 

Like John Tavares last season, they enter a new season in the last year of their contracts 

Anders Lee speaks with the media after New

Anders Lee speaks with the media after New York Islanders player exit interviews at Northwell Health Ice Center in East Meadow on Sunday, April 8, 2018. Photo Credit: James Escher

Anders Lee and Jordan Eberle are both in the same spot entering the final season of their contract that former Islanders’ teammate John Tavares was a year ago.

But the two top-six forwards said their outcome does not necessarily have to be the same as Tavares, who departed to the Maple Leafs via free agency.

“You know where you stand and what’s going on but, at the same time, just try and go play hockey and do what you’ve always done,” Lee said on Thursday as the veterans reported for training camp at Northwell Health Ice Center in East Meadow. “Things are going to work itself out. I was able to watch and learn from Johnny but our cases are different.”

Lee, 28, who signed a four-year, $15-million deal in 2015, set career highs with 40 goals and 62 points last season.

Eberle, 28, who had 25 goals and 34 assists in his first season with the Islanders, agreed to a six-year, $36-million deal with the Oilers in 2013.

“You know it’s there but, at the same time, you just want to bear down and treat it like any other year,” Eberle said. “I love playing here. I love the organization. I love the fans and I want to get off to a good start and help the team win some games. That’s my mindset.”

Center Brock Nelson, 26, who could be a candidate for the top six, may also wind up like Lee and Eberle in trade speculation after agreeing to a one-year, $4.25-million deal as a restricted free agent.

“I want to go out there and prove myself every year,” Nelson said. “Especially with a one-year deal, you’ve got to go out and play hard. I’m just looking to go out there and take a step forward.”

Notes & quotes: Defensemen Luca Sbisa, 28, who helped Vegas reach the Stanley Cup final last season, Dennis Seidenberg, 37, who played for the Islanders the past two seasons, and right wing Stephen Gionta, 34, who spent the past two seasons in the Islanders’ organization, will attend camp on professional tryout offers. Sbisa said he was in touch with president and general manager Lou Lamoriello throughout the offseason. “He was pretty straightforward,” Sbisa said. “He said I’d have a pretty good chance to make our team and help our team not just now but long term.” Coach Barry Trotz said Sbisa’s size and skating could provide an “upgrade…” Defenseman Devon Toews, 24, a strong roster candidate, said he was “100 percent healthy” after a shoulder injury limited him to 30 games with Bridgeport (AHL) last season.

New York Sports

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