Mature Lee ready to help Islanders, Sound Tigers
Updated 12:25 am, Thursday, July 11, 2013
UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- For an encore, Anders Lee has a whole pro season to look forward to.
He scored a goal in his first pro game, a New York Islanders win over Winnipeg during their drive to a playoff spot. In his second NHL game, he had an assist.
"Obviously it was a whirlwind, such a change, personally," said Lee, in town this week for the Islanders' development camp.
"I've just got to be ready every time out there. You can't take anything for granted. You've got to remember to be on your toes the whole time."
Lee, who just turned 23, signed an NHL deal after his junior season ended at Notre Dame. If he doesn't stick with the Islanders out of training camp in October, he'd be a Bridgeport Sound Tiger.
"Every guy out there is so strong," Lee said, "so quick. They're going to take advantage of your mistakes."
He was just a sixth-round draft pick in 2009, seen as a big player with potential. He has since filled out to 6-foot-2 and 225 pounds, and three years at Notre Dame helped turn him into a prospect.
"In person, he's strong, real strength on the puck," Bridgeport coach Scott Pellerin said.
"He's a competitor. We had one-on-one battles, and he and Casey (Cizikas) were together. You could see them really battling for the puck."
Lee scored 38 points in his junior year as captain of the Fighting Irish. He had 116 points in 125 college games before leaving for Long Island.
"It's all part of development, trying to get ready for the next level," Lee said. "(Junior) year definitely was going to benefit me. I'm closer to a degree. Leaving as a junior, it's something that'll be easy to get. If I left before that, it would've been nearly impossible."
He actually went back to South Bend after those two NHL games to finish up that junior year.
"To have that opportunity to come and play in an NHL game, then go back to school and finish classes, it's a good finish to the season," Pellerin said. "It looks like a good step. He'll continue that progress and development, for sure."
He'd fit right in on Bridgeport's roster as it would likely stand. All the Sound Tigers' veteran players became unrestricted free agents Friday. Of players who return to the organization and finished in Bridgeport, third-year pro Aaron Ness is the most experienced at 170 games.
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