It didn’t take Anders Lee long to make an impact for the New York Islanders. Lee was a sixth round pick in 2009 who had shown consistent improvement in three years of playing for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. The Islanders signed him to a two-year deal on Monday, and he made his NHL debut against the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday. Just over 16 minutes into the game, he scored his first goal on assists from Matt Martin and Casey Cizikas. It was also the first goal of the game, which the Islanders would go on to win by a 5-2 score. The win for the moment helped the Islanders in to a playoff spot, but the New York Rangers’ win on Wednesday night pushed them back to ninth place.
Lee led Notre Dame in scoring this season, netting 20 goals and adding 18 assists. He finished his collegiate career with 61 goals and 112 points in three seasons. Valued for his size (6-3, 220) and tenacity, Lee joins a potent Islanders offense that already includes John Tavares, Matt Moulson and many other young stars. The Islanders had to be happy that Lee decided to sign with them and not go the same route as Edmonton Oilers defenseman (and former Anaheim Ducks draft pick) Justin Schultz.
Earlier in the week the Islanders assigned top prospect Ryan Strome to their AHL affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. He joins Nino Niederreiter and Brock Nelson on a talented young team there that provides a great glimpse of the future. It remains to be seen if Lee will stay in the NHL for the remainder of the season, but he has already proven he can have an impact at the highest level.