On the morning of the Islanders season opener, Anders Lee got a vote of confidence from new management heading into the 2018-19 season.
The news broke from seemingly nowhere, both Barry Trotz and Lou Lamoriello have reiterated numerous times they felt there was no need to rush into naming a captain. For them, the time must have felt right.
Helping Lee’s case for the captaincy were most of his teammates who all vouched for him when asked by staff on who the leader was in the room.
“It’s extremely humbling, quite an honor to be a captain of this organization. It’s definitely one of the most special things that’s happened in my hockey career.” – #Isles Captain @leeberr09 pic.twitter.com/2pth0DSiHS
— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) October 4, 2018
Interestingly enough, Lee has served as captain before during the 2012-13 season at the University of Notre Dame. That season he scored 38 points (20-18-38) in 41 games before taking the jump to the NHL. He’s shown in the past that playing with “C” won’t affect his game at the college level, and the Isles are hoping that carries over in the NHL.
Dating back to the beginning of the 2016-17 season, Lee has scored the sixth-most goals in the NHL. Last season, he earned his first 40-goal season on the last game of the regular season against Detroit.
For the Islanders to take this much of a risk on another pending UFA, it bodes well for the ongoing contract negotiations.
Lee’s outspoken commitment to the Islanders is something that fans have heard a lot of before, and though some are going to be weary about this process, they can admit that it’s nice to see a smile on the captain’s face for his first media briefing.
The Islanders start their season Thursday night when they face the Carolina Hurricanes and their new captain, Justin Williams.