The New York Islanders appear to be ready to once again part ways with the man that is presumably their locker room leader, their captain Anders Lee.
In a recent interview with the National Hockey League's own Brian Compton, the Islanders forward revealed that he now expects to enter the National Hockey League's free agency interview period, a period of time in which the NHL's other franchises can speak with unrestricted free agents and later restricted free agents about a potential contract signing. This of course would mean that Lee would enter a process somewhat similar to the one former New York Islanders captain John Tavares entered into when he was set to become an unrestricted free agent. You do not need me to remind you how that particular situation turned out for the Islanders.
What makes this so interesting is that Lee does not seem at all pleased about the possibility, indicating instead that he had assumed the process would have been completed much sooner.
"There hasn't been an agenda or anything like that," Lee said on Saturday as per NHL.com. "I guess that's where we're at. We're right there, so it's just part of the process, I guess."
On top of seemingly being unhappy about the fact that he may very well hit the open market this summer, Lee also expressed discontent with the negotiating process itself. Certainly having a veteran executive like Lou Lamoriello on the other side of the table can not make things easy.
"I didn't think we'd get to this point. The process hasn't … I haven't enjoyed it, but it is what it is. We want to make sure that everything is done right and it's right for both of us, for both sides. I hope it works out. They're working on it right now."
What has been interesting about this process is the fact the Islanders had 4 players to really focus on this offseason when it came to potential free agents on their roster. The aforementioned Lee was presumably the top priority, followed by goaltender Robin Lehner, and then forwards Jordan Eberle and Brock Nelson. Surprisingly though both Lee and Lehner remain unsigned while Nelson and Eberle have cashed in on their respective deals. It is not very difficult to imagine how this could lead to the Islanders losing their second captain in as many season.