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Lee named captain of Islanders

Forward coming off NHL career-best 40-goal season in 2017-18

by Brian Compton @BComptonNHL / Deputy Managing Editor

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Anders Lee was named captain of the New York Islanders on Thursday.

Lee is the 15th captain in team history. He succeeds John Tavares, who signed as a free agent with the Toronto Maple Leafs on July 1. Tavares had been captain since 2013-14.

Islanders coach Barry Trotz made the announcement to his players hours before New York opened its season against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena (7 p.m. ET; FS-CR, MSG+, NHL.TV).

"These are the kind of things that you grow up kind of dreaming about," said the 28-year-old forward, who is beginning his fifth full season with the Islanders. "You've got to be obviously in the right position for things to work out this way and things got to fall into place. I've always gone out there to just be who I am, work hard, be a good teammate, keep it light and enjoy this ride and enjoy this challenge.

"When I see [the 'C' on my jersey] today, it'll be special."

Trotz, who was hired on June 21 after coaching the Washington Capitals to the Stanley Cup last season, said no formal vote among the players was held prior to making the decision.

"When I first got the opportunity to coach the Islanders, I talked to every player," Trotz said. "I talked about everything from last year to which players you really respect, all that. Through the whole group, I went through training camp and observed who led the right way, did things the right way, all those things to be a pro.

"It was clear to me, clear as day, that Anders would be the 15th captain of the Islanders. We broke the news today during our morning meeting. I think he has a respectful thought process about the whole thing. He should be very proud of the respect that his teammates give him and the honor to be named a captain."

Forwards Josh Bailey, Cal Clutterbuck and Andrew Ladd were named alternate captains.

"It's great," said Bailey, the longest-tenured member of the Islanders, having joined them at the start of the 2008-09 season after being selected in the first round (No. 9) of the 2008 NHL Draft. "I think we're all really happy about it. Great person, great leader. The way he works, the way we all feel about him, it was the right choice. I think he's the perfect guy for the job."

Lee had NHL career highs in goals (40), assists (22) and points (62) last season while playing in all 82 games.

The native of Edina, Minnesota, was selected by the Islanders in the sixth round (No. 151) in the 2009 NHL Draft. Lee has 207 points (124 goals, 83 assists) in 343 NHL games, all with New York. He has one assist in five Stanley Cup Playoff games.

Lee is entering the final season of the four-year contract he signed with the Islanders on June 30, 2015.

"This means a lot to me, to have that kind of commitment from the organization, the staff and the players," said Lee, who was captain at the University of Notre Dame from 2011-13. "That's been reciprocated on my end since I've been drafted here. This has been my home for such a long time. It's a special place to me. I take pride in putting this jersey on. I look forward to seeing where this all goes.

"To me, I don't think they would have done this if they didn't feel it was right. Things are going to play themselves out. I'm not too worried about that in that regard right now at all. This season is what we're worried about. I think the future's going to be great and we're going to continue to work towards that ultimate goal. That starts right now."

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