"I think he's actually older than me," Tavares said with a grin, "so it's kind of funny that I'd be going to him giving him a lot of advice."
Lee, 22, was born July 3, 1990, Tavares Sept. 20 of that year. Lee may have just arrived from his junior year at Notre Dame, where he scored 61 goals and 55 assists in three seasons, but he's certainly ready to take some NHL shifts. "He's obviously a professional now, he's had great years at college," Tavares said. "He showed [Tuesday] that he fits right in."
The 6-3, 227-pound Lee scored on his first shot in his first game in the Islanders' 5-2 victory over the Jets. "It was amazing, everything just kind of fell into place," Lee said Wednesday at IceWorks. "It was a dream come true to have that first game, especially how it went down, it was pretty awesome." His parents were at Nassau Coliseum. "I couldn't be happier they could be there to support me. We all enjoyed it."
Lee was drafted in the sixth round by the Islanders in 2009, but decided to attend college. The Minnesota native was a star quarterback in high school and watching Notre Dame football from the stands fulfilled his appetite for the sport. "You've got to be a pretty special player to play at Notre Dame, that was something that was out of my reach," he said. "The games were some of the funnest part of the fall. I enjoyed supporting the team and being there with my classmates."
After three years of college hockey, Lee decided to accept a two-year entry-level contract with the Islanders. "I was presented with this opportunity, it was something I wanted," he said, "and I felt I was ready to take that step."
Coach Jack Capuano was impressed with Lee's debut, saying, "I thought overall he played well, got pucks to the net, went to the net hard. I was pleased with his game."
Lee expects to be involved in the playoff push. "These guys are battling," he said. "They're right there. We're all trying to keep that going, keep the wins coming. Whatever part it is, I'm willing to do it."
Notes & quotes: Defenseman Andrey Pedan signed a three-year, entry-level deal. He was sent to Bridgeport.