It was announced this afternoon that defenceman Chris Lee has signed a professional tryout contract with the Los Angeles Kings. Lee, 36, has never played for an NHL team, nor was he drafted by one.
Over the course of the past four seasons, Lee has played as a member of Magnitogorsk Metallurg in the KHL. He has consistently put up strong offensive numbers, including 65 points in 60 contests this past season. In addition to that career-high point total, he put up 14 goals, also the best performance of his career.
On a whole, Lee managed 179 points in 227 games with Magnitogorsk, and won the award for Defenceman of the Year in 2011-12 with Manheim Eagles of the DEL. He is also a two-time winner of the Gagarin Cup as KHL champion. Lee brings to the table a skill set of puck movement and mobility, as well as the ability to work effectively on a power play. In a league that continues to move more towards offence from the back end, Lee appears to be a worthwhile gamble to take. Additionally, using renowned hockey statistician Rob Vollman’s conversion strategy, Lee was projected to have scored roughly 66 points in a full NHL season in 2016-17.
Chris Lee Signs PTO with Los Angeles Kings
Lee has also accumulated a respectable AHL resume, playing on a variety of squads from 2006 through 2010 (the Albany River Rats, Bridgeport Sound Tigers, Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights, Iowa Stars, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins). This past Spring, Lee was the only non-NHL skater to be named to Team Canada’s roster. He partook in seven games, scoring two points in the process.
Lee will be looking to make a Kings squad that finished 10th in the Western Conference, and fifth in the Pacific Division this past season. Should he make the team, he will be joining a blue line that features former Norris Trophy winner Drew Doughty, as well as the likes of Jake Muzzin and Alec Martinez.