Islanders’ Anders Lee suffers broken fibula, unlikely to return this season

New York Islanders winger Anders Lee shouldn’t be expected back this season after he broke his fibula Thursday. He took four shifts after breaking his leg. Lee, 25, has 15 goals and 36 points this season.

The New York Islanders are having difficulties with scoring depth up front, and things aren’t going to get any easier with the post-season approaching as it appears winger Anders Lee will be out for the rest of the season.

The Islanders announced Friday morning that Lee, 25, will be out indefinitely with a broken fibula suffered during the first period of Thursday’s game against the New York Rangers. Lee was standing out front of the Rangers’ net following an Islanders’ faceoff win when the puck came back to defenseman Johnny Boychuk, who pounded a shot on goal that caught Lee in the leg. Upon impact, Lee crumpled to the ice and hobbled to the bench:

While one would have expected Lee’s night to be done following the blocked shot that broke his leg, he actually remained in the game for the duration of the period. Lee took four more shifts in the first frame totalling an extra 2:32 of ice time. When the second period began, however, Lee was nowhere to be found and he didn’t return for the remainder of the game.

Initial reports were that Lee had suffered a leg fracture, and Friday’s announcement confirms the worst fears for Islanders fans. Lee has been an effective second- and third-line scoring option for New York this season, and losing him means the Islanders will need to find someone to try and fill Lee’s role on the top power play unit, as well as someone who can contribute offensively. Through 80 games, Lee had 15 goals and 36 points.

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Lee’s goal total is a step back from the 25 markers he put up last season, but his size make him an offensive weapon the likes of which New York has few of. And with the growing list of injuries the Islanders are dealing with, it’s going to be difficult to find a suitable replacement for Lee as the playoffs approach. The Islanders don’t have a high-scoring option who’s readily available for an AHL callup, and many of their top prospects are currently playing in the CHL post-season.

Heading into Thursday’s game, the Islanders were already without forwards Mikhail Grabovski, Cal Clutterbuck and Matt Martin. That’s not to mention New York’s blueline is dealing with injuries to Travis Hamonic and Brian Strait, while goaltenders Jaroslav Halak and Jean-Francois Berube are also sidelined. With Grabovski and Lee out, Boulton is the only spare forward currently on the roster once Martin and Clutterbuck return.