27-Year-Old Defenseman – Free Agent
Brian Lee Contract Information:
Became an unrestricted free agent in July 2014.
Lee (knee) is still only doing off-ice workouts.
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RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
There was no outlook written for Brian Lee.
Lee will be in the hunt for the seventh defender spot coming out of training camp. He's a long shot these days and won't deliver you enough fantasy goodness to justify an investment.
Once upon a time, Lee was a top prospect. And then he actually started to play pro hockey. Don't get us wrong -- he's a decent player. But despite his elite speed, he's a 5-6 defender whose shot might not break wet paper towels. OK, it's not that bad, but it's not exactly going to deliver loads of points. And he'll need to ratchet up the intensity to truly make a dent as a shutdown defender.
Lee finished the 2010-11 season as one of Ottawa's better shutdown defensemen, which was a surprise to many, since he had been scratched for 25 straight games by then-head coach Cory Clouston to start the year. While he was drafted under the John Muckler regime with the promise of being an offensively-minded, puck-moving defenseman, Lee has slowly morphed into a solid, positionally sound shutdown blueliner with a good first pass and solid skating skills. Don't look for Lee to score many points this season, as he won't be playing on either of Ottawa's power-play units and his shot is simply not NHL-caliber. Fantasy-wise, Lee should be avoided in all hockey pools since offense is not his strong suit.
Lee has quickly been forgotten as Ottawa's blueliner of the future as he's been surpassed on the depth charts by much more skilled defensive prospects. 2010-11 is likely a make-or-break year for Lee as he'll need to show that he's ready to compete on a nightly basis. He's a smooth skater with a good first pass out of the zone, but he doesn't possess the grit or toughness to be considered anything other than a depth defenseman right now. Lee should begin the season in the AHL and could be brought up because of injuries, but he'll need to really impress Ottawa's brass in training camp if he wants the opportunity to be the first callup.
Lee had an up and down year in 2008-09, but he finished strongly while developing a meaner edge to his game. The young blueliner should spend some time on Ottawa's second power-play unit, but it will be limited as Ottawa has a wealth of better puck-moving defenseman ahead of Lee on the depth chart. Lee will be counted on more in even-strength situations and thus has limited fantasy value this year.
The 21-year-old Lee was brought up from Binghamton to play in Ottawa's last six regular season games as well as the entire first round of the playoffs. During that time, he showed a lot of maturity and poise for someone experiencing his first taste of NHL action. An intelligent player with good offensive upside, Lee sees the ice extremely well and can make quick, accurate outlet passes. Lee needs to work on his upper-body strength to be able to endure the big hits he's going to face over an entire season, but that will come with proper training. He's the future of Ottawa's blueline and should eventually man the point on the No. 1 power-play unit. Lee should be on your radar if you're in deeper leagues that allow keepers.
This year marks Lee's first as a professional. He'll start the season with the Binghamton Senators in the AHL where he'll form one half of the baby Senators' top defensive pairing. Lee will be in the NHL some day soon, just not this year as he requires at least one or two years of seasoning.
Lee will again suit up for the University of North Dakota for the 2006-07 season. He has all the capabilities to become one of the best young defenders in the NHL some day.
Lee rose to fame prior to the 2005 World Junior Championships when he was selected to play for Team USA ahead of the more-skilled Jack Johnson. The yo-yo of opinion on Lee is extreme -- some teams see him as a top-15 pick while others peg him in the second round. He's a prototypcial offensive defenseman bordering on power-play specialist, and he'll be taking his QB skills to the University of North Dakota for 2005-2006.