The New York Islanders will have to play out the 2020-21 NHL season without their usually reliable captain Anders Lee. According to the team’s general manager Lou Lamoriello, Lee is dealing with a torn ACL and will have to undergo surgery that will sideline him for the rest of the year.
Lee, who already racked up 12 goals and seven assists this season, suffered the injury last week in a 5-3 win over the New Jersey Devils. He is set to have the procedure on his knee in the next few days.
“You never replace the player that you lost,” Lamoriello told reporters. “He’s our captain. He’s our leader on and off the ice, and he’s the voice of the players with the coaches and management, so that’s a little different.”
Lee was placed on the long-term injured reserve following the injury, allowing the Islanders to get $7 million in cap-relief. This should allow the team to pursue a replacement for the 30-year-old star, with former NHL MVP Taylor Hall emerging as the most obvious candidate.
Lee spent his entire NHL career in New York, having played 520 games in an Islanders jersey. He scored 184 goals and dished 136 assists for a total of 320 points since entering the league.
The New York Islanders, who had a surprisingly deep playoff run last season, are playing well in 2020-21 and were on a nine-game winning streak at one point. They currently own a 19-7-4 record in the East Division and are tied with the leading Washington Capitals at 42 points.