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So what’s going on with Anders Lee and Robin Lehner?

It’s been a while since we checked in on the Islanders’ captain Anders Lee and the Vezina finalist Robin Lehner, but here we are just a few days away from free agency and not a peep.  According to multiple sources, the holdup with Lee’s contract is the term of his contract, not the money.  Not much has been said on the front with Lehner, but he’s made it very clear on multiple occasions that he wants to remain with the Islanders.

There are a few, including NHL Insider Elliotte Friedman, who believe that the reason why the contracts of Lee and Lehner are in limbo is because Lou Lamoriello and co. are going big game fishing.  It’s been rumored that both Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky are currently in New York meeting with their agent.  It’s also been speculated that Panarin has three teams in mind to play for;  The New York Rangers, Florida Panthers and New York Islanders.

Bringing two of the hottest free agents in years would be a big catch for the Islanders but at what cost would it be at?  It’s probably not possible to sign Panarin, re-sign Lee and Lehner but that would be the best case scenario.  There would probably be way too much money tied up in Panarin to fit both the captain and Lehner.

If Panarin and Bobs both wind up with the Islanders, it most certainly signals that Anders Lee will be gone.  It will be a foregone conclusion that Robin Lehner is gone because Thomas Greiss is still in the mix.  Is that worth it though?  Sure it’s an upgrade at both positions and Panarin is one of the most dynamic players in the game, but Lee and Lehner were both the heart and soul of this feisty Islanders team.

Obviously the Islanders need an upgrade if they want to take the next step, but their first step should be at the least re-signing their captain.  They cannot let their leader leave two seasons in a row, regardless of what Anders Lee wants.  His contract will absolutely be a depreciating asset in year four of his deal, but he’s also a perennial 30 goal scorer and led a team with great chemistry.

It’s a very tough conundrum.  The worst case scenario would be that Lou goes big fish hunting, gets some nibbles but comes away with nothing.  In that case they lose Lee, Lehner and have to settle for a second tier forward and a third tier goaltender.  Hopefully something gets done soon, but the clock is ticking.


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