Lee is ready to begin his first season without John Tavares, Newsday reports. Lee is in the final year of his contract and there haven't been any negotiations with the team at this time. The Islanders are likely waiting to see how Lee performs without Tavares as his center. Lee will likely drop down to the second line with Brock Nelson feeding him the puck, although he should still play on the top power-play unit. Lee is in the final season of a four-year, $15 million contract he signed in 2015. He had 40 goals and 62 points last season. If Lee were to approach those goal totals this season, he would be in store for a healthy raise, but one which the Islanders may not want to pay -- they could thus look to trade him before the trade deadline in February.
Lee will get a new center in 2018-19 after John Tavares signed in Toronto and that is likely to have a significant impact on his production, reports The Athletic. The Tavares Effect is significant. Lee delivered 0.7 points per game with Tavares, but that number dropped to 0.49 without the stud center. Lee may be a 40-goal, one-hit wonder and sadly, most dynasty owners already expect that to be the case. Trading him now will be a loss, so wait to leverage his first big outburst of next season. You might be able to convince someone the effect isn't as significant as it seems.
Lee finished the 2017-18 season with 40 goals and 22 points for the Islanders. Lee was a mainstay on the top line with John Tavares. He's not the most graceful skater in the NHL and doesn't have the hardest shot, but he knows how to position his big body in front of the opposing net for deflections and rebounds. If Tavares re-signs with the Islanders then Lee should once again approach similar numbers next season, but if Tavares departs, his numbers could tumble.
Lee scored two goals -- one on the power play -- in Thursday's 7-6 loss to the Lightning. Lee was one of three Islanders to post a two-goal performance, but that still wasn't enough to keep pace with Tampa Bay's high-powered offense, which ended up sticking Lee with a minus-1 rating. He's up to 38 goals this season -- just six behind Alex Ovechkin's league-leading total. Five of those tallies have come in the past three games.
Lee scored two power-play goals and recorded a minus-1 rating in a 4-3 loss to the Hurricanes on Sunday. This game was a microcosm of Lee's 2017-18 season. With his two goals, he set a new career high of 35 goals and 11 power-play scores. However, he dropped to minus-19, which is a career worst. Fortunately, plus/minus is weighted as heavily in most formats as it used to be, making Lee an asset in all settings.
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