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Frank Seravalli

TSN Senior Hockey Reporter

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Lou Lamoriello and the New York Islanders have played hardball with captain Anders Lee.

While the two sides remain in communication, with Lee’s stated interest in returning to Long Island, as each day passes the likelihood increases that Lee will be on the move.

Sound familiar?

Lee, of course, is no John Tavares. But the Islanders are definitely in danger of watching their captain walk in free agency for the second summer in a row.

The Edina, Minn., native Lee has been linked to his hometown Minnesota Wild, the Chicago Blackhawks, and the Colorado Avalanche so far.

For months, the hang-up has seemingly been in the difference between what the Islanders are willing to pay versus what the changing market will likely bear for Lee. The market has shifted in the last 12 months and Lee stands to earn more than what the Islanders envisioned.

In fact, the math would say Lee’s closest comparable in the “new” market is Mark Stone.

Lee and Stone are both wingers. No one would compare Lee and Stone in terms of their complete, 200-foot game - Lee wasn’t a Selke Trophy finalist like Stone - but still, the statistical comparison is there.

They both entered the NHL at the same time. Lee, who turns 29 on July 3, is 22 months older than the 27-year-old Stone.

In 384 career games, Stone has 128 goals and 194 assists for 322 points.

In 425 career games, Lee has 152 goals and 106 assists for 258 points.

Two seasons ago, each collected 62-point seasons and Lee hit 40 goals. Stone had the better season this year split between Ottawa and Vegas; his deal was signed on March 8 after the trade deadline.

Again, to stress the point, Lee and Stone are not equal players. No one is making that stretch. But Lee is the better goal scorer - and goals are paid at a premium.

To make them comparable, the players don’t have to be equals, but they are at least operating in the same stratosphere.

So, if Stone signed an 8-year deal at $9.5 million for $76 million with a complete no-move clause, what exactly is Lee worth?

Is it $7.5 million per season? Is it more than that?

Captain America is going to make a pile of money somewhere on Canada Day. He may well end up with the fourth-largest total contract in free agency this summer.

That’s why Lee is up to No. 4 on TSN Hockey’s latest Free Agent Frenzy Top 50 rankings:

 

The Top 50 UFAs

 
RK Player Team Pos Age GP G PTS 17-18
1 Artemi Panarin CBJ LW 27 79 28 87 $6M
2 Matt Duchene CBJ C 28 73 31 70 $6M
3 Sergei Bobrovsky CBJ G 30 62 2.53 .913 $7.43M
4 Anders Lee NYI LW 28 82 28 51 $3.75M
5 Tyler Myers Wpg RD 29 80 9 30 $5.5M
6 Joe Pavelski SJS C 34 75 28 64 $6M
7 Marcus Johansson Bos LW 28 58 13 30 $4.58M
8 Jake Gardiner Tor LD 28 62 3 30 $4.05M
9 Mats Zuccarello Dal RW 31 48 12 40 $4.5M
10 Robin Lehner NYI G 27 46 2.13 .930 $1.5M
11 Corey Perry Ana RW 34 31 6 10 $8.63M
12 Gustav Nyquist SJ LW 29 81 22 60 $4.75M
13 Anton Stralman Tam RD 32 47 2 17 $4.5M
14 Wayne Simmonds Nsh RW 30 79 17 30 $3.98M
15 Micheal Ferland Car LW 27 71 17 40 $1.75M
16 Ryan Dzingel CBJ LW 27 78 26 56 $1.8M
17 Brett Connolly Wsh RW 27 81 22 46 $1.8M
18 Brandon Tanev Wpg LW 27 80 14 29 $1.15M
19 Joonas Donskoi SJ RW 27 80 14 37 $1.8M
20 Ben Chiarot Wpg LD 28 74 5 20 $1.4M
21 Colin Wilson Col LW 29 65 12 27 $3.94M
22 Ron Hainsey Tor RD 38 81 5 23 $3M
23 Petr Mrazek Car G 27 40 2.39 .914 $1.5M
24 Mike Smith Cgy G 37 42 2.73 .898 $5.67M
25 Cam Talbot Phi G 31 35 3.4 .892 $4.17M
26 Ben Hutton Van LD 26 69 5 20 $2.8M
27 Patrick Maroon StL LW 31 74 10 28 $1.75M
28 Semyon Varlamov Col G 31 42 2.87 .909 $5.9M
29 Alex Chiasson Edm RW 28 73 22 38 $650K
30 Ryan Hartman Dal RW 24 83 12 26 $875K
31 Brian Boyle Nsh C 34 73 18 24 $2.55M
32 Curtis McElhinney Car G 36 33 2.58 .912 $850K
33 Derick Brassard Col C 31 70 14 24 $5M
34 Valtteri Filppula NYI LW 35 72 17 31 $2.75M
35 Deryk Engelland VGK RD 37 74 2 12 $1.5M
36 Jordie Benn Mtl LD 31 81 5 22 $1.1M
37 Richard Panik Ari LW 28 75 14 29 $2.8M
38 Noel Acciari Bos RW 27 72 6 14 $725K
39 Jason Pominville Buf RW 36 73 16 31 $5.6M
40 Ben Lovejoy Dal RD 35 71 2 9 $2.67M
41 Adam McQuaid CBJ RD 32 50 3 7 $2.75M
42 Jason Spezza Dal C 35 76 8 27 $7.5M
43 Dion Phaneuf LA LD 34 67 1 6 $7M
44 Pierre-Eduoard Bellemare VGK LW 34 76 6 15 $1.45M
45 Patrik Nemeth Col LD 27 74 1 10 $2.5M
46 Dan Girardi Tam RD 35 62 4 16 $3M
47 Michael Del Zotto StL LD 29 42 1 10 $3M
48 Luke Schenn Van RD 29 26 0 2 $800K
49 Magnus Paajarvi Ott LW 28 80 11 19 $900K
50 John Gilmour NYR LD 26 5 0 0 $650K
 

Contact Frank Seravalli on Twitter: @frank_seravalli​