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Anders Lee ‘more comfortable’ entering 2022-23 season after ACL injury two seasons ago

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Anders Lee Islanders
Anders Lee (Photo courtesy of the New York Islanders)

Anders Lee showed a glimpse of what he could do when fully healthy last season when he scored 11 goals in the month of March to put the finishing touches on a down year that still featured 28 goals. 

That was no small feat considering the Islanders captain was coming off an ACL injury in the second half of the 2020-21 season that ended his campaign early — and he was forced to watch from the press box as his Islanders made a second-straight Stanley Cup semifinal.

Entering the 2022-23 season, Lee is 100% — unlike the start of last season — and it’s showing.

“Physically I’m more comfortable,” Lee said on Thursday. “Any time you come into camp, it’s the beginning of a lot of new stuff. We’re on a new journey, we’re starting fresh.”

It’s no secret what Lee can do when he’s healthy and in the proper system that can highlight his offensive skillset. The powerful left-winger scored 34 goals in 2016-17 and posted 40 the following season before entering the defense-first mantra of Barry Trotz. 

Anders Lee Islanders
Anders Lee (Wikimedia Commons)

With the surprising change behind the bench during the offseason, promoting Trotz’s long-time assistant Lane Lambert to head coach, the Islanders are looking to facilitate a game that brings more aggression to open up more offense.

“It took us a game or two, a couple practices with implementing some things and become more natural,” Lee said. “You have to break some old processes… There’s a lot to look forward to. In return, you get the good butterflies and the nervousness of what’s coming up and all the hard work we put in during the summer and at camp, putting it all together.”

The change in philosophy at least re-opens the opportunity of seeing Lee return to that 30-plus-goal mark. But the most important thing heading into the season is that the Islanders have their captain back at full strength for a full season — and that’s a relief.

I think [he looks more comfortable],” Lambert said. “Obviously, he came off a tough injury which takes some time… It looks like he feels better and he’s skating well. He’s doing a good job.”

For more on Anders Lee and the Islanders, visit AMNY.com

 

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