Isles dealt big blow and will need to be active at the trade deadline.
New York Islanders fans were greeted with some tough news on Wednesday morning. It was revealed that captain Anders Lee had suffered a torn ACL and would miss the remainder of the 2020-21 season.
#Isles Update from President and GM Lou Lamoriello: Anders Lee will undergo surgery this week and will be out for the rest of the season. pic.twitter.com/t8xP4Bva7c
— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) March 17, 2021
Lee has been out since exiting the Islanders’ game against the New Jersey Devils on March 11 in the first period after becoming entangled with Devils forward Pavel Zacha.
The injury looked serious so it came to no surprise when it was announced that Lee was week-to-week with a lower-body injury.
Lee is expected to be ready for the 2021-22 season, but the Islanders will have to go on this year without him, which won’t be easy.
What this means for the team
Lee had a bit of a down year in terms of goal-scoring in 2020, but bounced back in a big way in the 2021 season. He had 12 goals and 19 points in 27 games before going down with his ACL injury.
Losing your leading goal scorer and your best net front presence will always hurt, but the Islanders will have to make do without him. The good news is, some guys are already stepping up.
Some players on the team have been playing very well this season and living up to expectations such as Mathew Barzal and Jordan Eberle.
Others are surprising everyone in a great way. Oliver Wahlstrom has gone from being a question mark to a certainty in the lineup and Kieffer Bellows, who was called upon to replace Lee in the lineup, has been scoring goals.
Lee is more than just on-ice production, however. He’s the team’s captain and an incredible leader. A loss such as this is hard, but the Islanders have great chemistry and great relationships.
They also have veterans who have what it takes to be leaders and they’re going to have to step up big time, especially if they hope to see their team bring home the cup.
A trade in the horizon?
Now that Lee, one of the team’s best players, is out for the remainder of the season, the Islanders have $7 million to work with. This likely means a trade is coming. Enter guys like Taylor Hall and Kyle Palmieri.
Both are very talented wingers who are having down years. Former MVP Hall is currently playing for the Buffalo Sabres, one of the worst teams in the league, and will likely be moved at the deadline.
He’s a perfect fit for the Islanders and this is a move that would make sense. When he’s at his best, Hall is one of the best in the game and can take this team to a new level.
A long-time Devil, Palmieri is having a down year but is almost always one of the most underrated consistent goal-scorers in the league.
Like the Sabres, the Devils are one of the worst teams in the NHL and are in the midst of a rebuild. This team does have some very promising young talent, but in order for their kids to thrive, the veterans have to go.
That includes Palmieri, who is expected to be moved at the deadline.
Both Hall and Palmieri, who are former teammates, will likely see an improvement in play if they’re traded from some of the worst teams in the league to the complete opposite in the Islanders, something the New York’s front office will keep in mind.
Either player will benefit this team greatly and be another reason why the Islanders are cup contenders.