Islanders prospect Anders Lee

This prospect report will examine Islanders prospect Anders Lee, who currently plays for Notre Dame in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association.

Lee, the Islanders 6th round pick (154th overall) of the 2009 NHL entry draft, is a center on a very good Fighting Irish team. The 6'3" 227 pound Edina, Minnesota native is a junior for the 7th ranked Notre Dame squad. 

Lee is the top scoring "Domer" with 22 points in 24 games played. He has 13 goals and 9 assists, which points to him being more of a sniper than a play maker. In addition, and potentially more important to his future with the Isles, he is tied for second on the team in +/- with a +12. (Photo credit: islanders.nhl.com)

Why is this important? First, let's examine his career to date.

Lee started his high school career at St. Thomas Academy where he had 41 points in 31 games including 24 goals. He then transferred to Edina where he played 2 seasons scoring 138 points in only 62 games, while netting 57 goals.

In 2009-2010, he played for the Green Bay Gamblers of the USHL. His numbers there were a little more pedestrian, but still exceeded a point per game as he had 66 points in 59 games.

His freshman year at Notre Dame, he scored 44 points in 44 games. Still, he was a point per game player on a good Notre Dame team.

His sophomore year? He dropped below a point per game. 34 points in 44 games.

As listed above, he is below a point per game this season. Why take all that time to list that out? To show that his production, as he's increased in levels or prominence, has decreased. That is true for almost all players, but Lee is in a special situation.

The team that holds the 22 year old center's rights is deep at center. And, that may not bode well for Lee's future with the Islanders.

At the NHL level, the Islanders have John Tavares, Frans Nielsen, and Casey Cizikas manning the pivot. Tavares, as everyone knows, is a young star bordering on superstar. Nielsen is a quality 2-way player, as is Cizikas. (Photo credit: flickr: Robert Kowal)

Also in the system is Ryan Strome, the Islanders' 2011 first round pick who is currently tearing up the Ontario Hockey League. Strome will most likely inherit the 2nd line center spot next season or the season after. At Bridgeport, Brock Nelson is having a solid season. The 2010 first round pick would be solid checking center on any team with some offensive upside.

For Lee to have a future with the Isles, it will probably be after a switch back to wing, which he played when he first arrived at Notre Dame, or as a checking/4th line center who kills penalties. That's where his strong +/- comes in. The young center, who by all accounts has great character, will probably need to be strong defensively to stick with the Islanders.

But being an Islander is not cut and dried for the kid. See, there's this funny little loophole in the collective bargaining agreement that allows a college player, once he's reached his 4th June under club control, and he has left college, to become an unrestricted free agent and sign with any club. See Justin Schultz.

It is unclear whether Lee would take this route, but if he were inclined to do so, this summer would be his 4th June.

For the Islanders part, they were interested in signing him last year before Lee decided to return to South Bend.

Will Lee bolt for free agent waters? Will the Islanders offer him an entry level contract? Even though no one can say for sure at this point, expect the Isles to attempt to sign him to an ELC with the idea of playing him at center in Bridgeport or experimenting with Lee on the wing.

Only Lee will know what he will do when and if, the Isles do offer him a deal.

Anders Lee's stats where pulled from the Islanders team website and can be found here.

-Donovan Brooks

Follow me, @donovanbrooks on Twitter and make sure to “like” The Checkingline-Isles edition on Facebook as well as on Twitter @TCLIsles to stay up to the minute with all the latest Islanders news and notes.

Feel free to shoot me an E-mail: hockeydonovan87@gmail.com.

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