Kings sign forward Andre Lee to one-year contract extension (AAV: $775,000)

The first domino of the offseason, Insiders!

The LA Kings have signed forward Andre Lee to a one-year contract extension, carrying an AAV of $775,000 at the NHL level. The contract is a two-way contract for the 2024-25 season.

Lee is coming off a strong playoff performance with the Reign, when he buried four goals from eight games in the postseason, skating on a physical and in your face third line. Over the course of the season, Lee skated in 36 games around a pair of larger-scale injuries that cost him more than half of the season. Lee became a regular with the Reign in his second professional season and will now look to take another step forward in the season to come.

Instant Analysis
Andre Lee might not be a guy who takes a spot coming out of training camp but there is some internal optimism about his development path.

His offensive production during the regular season, with 13 points (6-5-13) from 36 games played, wasn’t off the charts but he stepped up in the playoffs and was a big part of Ontario’s run into the third round. Lee elevated in the lineup from the fourth line to a hard-to-play against, in your face third line with Samuel Helenius and Taylor Ward, both of whom are under contract for next season. In the postseason, Lee played over perhaps more skill-based players, delivering a brand of hockey that Marco Sturm and the organization valued at that time of the year. It’s for those reasons why the Kings like Lee and are keeping him in the fold. He’s still just 23-years-old and after playing a USHL season and three NCAA seasons following his draft selection, he’s got a longer timeline than others. He’s also a bigger player and the development curve does tend to be longer for bigger players. There’s a lot to like about Lee. His combination of size, skating and skill make him an appealing option going forward.

I think the hope with Lee is that he can get to a place where he would be looked upon to be a recall option down the road. A player who played in a bottom-six role with Ontario and could potentially translate into a similar role up with the Kings. He was introduced on the penalty kill this season as well and is thought to be a very coachable player who strives to grow and develop. It was encouraging to see Lee enforce his style of play in the postseason with the Reign. If he can continue to do that over the course of a longer stretch of games going forward, it would move a long way towards putting himself in that position to be a recall option down the road. Excited to see him work towards doing that in the upcoming season.

From the official release –

The LA Kings have signed forward Andre Lee to a one-year, two-way contract worth an average annual value (AAV) of $775,000 through the 2024-25 season.

Lee, 23, recently completed his second full season with the Ontario Reign, the Kings’ American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, registering eight goals and five assists for 13 points (8-5=13) in 36 games. He added four goals in eight Calder Cup Playoff contests, the second-most on the team. The 6-5, 210-pound forward has played in 105 games for Ontario over parts of three seasons, accumulating 14 goals and 10 assists for 24 points (14-10=24).

Selected in the seventh-round (188th overall) in the 2019 NHL Draft, Lee played three seasons of collegiate hockey at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell (H-East) where he appeared in 87 games and posted 64 points (31-33=64) with a plus-26 rating. Lee’s best collegiate season came in his junior year (2021-22) after he set career-highs in games played (34), goals (16), points (28) and plus/minus (+12) while helping the River Hawks to their first NCAA Tournament since 2017 and was named to the Hockey East Third All-Star Team.

Prior to joining UMass-Lowell, the Karlstad, Sweden native played for one season with the Sioux Falls Stampede (USHL), where he posted 35 points (20-15=35) in his first season in North America. He and the Stampede won the Clark Cup that season.

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