New York Islanders, Anders Lee, Barclays Center
Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

Seeing Lee on the ice is a big morale boost. But his return isn’t likely for the playoffs. 

Tab Bamford

The Islanders-Bruins series has been terrific thus far. And, at Monday morning’s optional skate, there was a sight for sore eyes on the ice: captain Anders Lee made an appearance.

It wasn’t expected, but it certainly got the attention of Islanders fans and media alike.

Lee, who suffered an ACL injury against the Devils on March 11, required surgery on his right knee. Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello said the forward would be out for the rest of the 2021 season.

The timeline for an ACL injury that requires surgery is usually in the six-month range, and the Rangers have been consistent that he won’t be part of their postseason plans.

But seeing Lee on the ice is encouraging. Good vibes on Monday before Game 5 is a good start to the week for the Islanders.

Lee, 30, has five years remaining on his contract with a $7 million cap hit. He was named the 15th captain in Islanders’ history on Oct. 4, 2018, replacing John Tavares. The decision to put the C on Lee was a no-brainer, according to coach Barry Trotz.

“When I first got the opportunity to coach the Islanders, we talked to every player,” Trotz said when Lee was announced the new captain. “It was clear as day to me that Anders would be the fifteenth captain of the Islanders.”

He’s lived up to the C on his chest since becoming the captain. The Islanders are playing well now, but having a healthy captain back for a full 2021-22 season is potentially big news.