The Islanders received some tough news Wednesday when they learned captain Anders Lee will need ACL surgery.
Lee was injured during last week’s game against the Devils when he got tied up with Pavel Zacha. The torn ACL will keep him out for the rest of the 2020-21 NHL regular season and playoffs, but he should be ready for training camp, according to GM Lou Lamoriello.
“It is an ACL and that’s as far as I will go,” Lamoriello said. “The doctors are extremely comfortable with a 100% recovery because of the type of injury that he has. But it is an ACL and the rehab will not be as bad as a lot of ACL injuries are because there is nothing else damaged other than the ACL.”
Tied with Brock Nelson for the team lead in goals (12), Lee also recorded 19 points in 27 games this season. The injury ended his consecutive games played streak at 295. It is the third-longest ironman streak in franchise history behind Billy Harris (576) and Bobby Nystrom (301).
Lee was placed on long-term injured reserve, which will allow the Islanders to spend beyond the $81.5M salary cap ceiling. Lamoriello will be on the hunt for scoring help up front and the additional room will allow him try to fill the big hole left by his captain’s absence.
“There’s no question that now we have cap room with Anders being on LTIR,” Lamoriello said. “Whatever we can do to make ourselves better, we will be doing that. It certainly changes our focus. We will not do something just for the sake of doing but we’re now looking a little different.”