29-Year-Old Right Wing – Buffalo Sabres
Kyle Okposo Contract Information:
Signed a seven-year, $42 million contract with the Sabres in July of 2016.
Okposo (illness) will be back in the lineup for Tuesday night's showdown in Las Vegas, Mike Harrington of The Buffalo News reports.
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Kyle Okposo: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
After leaving the Islanders for a seven-year deal with Buffalo, Okposo is likely to land a coveted top-line role alongside Ryan OíReilly and Evander Kaneís line, assuming Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart remain paired together. He brings a lot of size and physicality to the table, but also offers some veteran leadership and experience for the teamís young stars, having helped John Tavares reach new heights in New York. Okposo scored 22 goals and 64 points while averaging 18 minutes per game on Long Island, and he's expected to match or exceed those totals with the Sabres, with an eye on his first career 30-goal season and his third 60-point campaign in four years.
Until an eye injury put him in the presss box for a quarter of last season, Okposo was on pace for another career year. The 6-foot-0, 217-pound Okposo has a rare combination of size and speed that alongside John Tavares, has helped give the Islanders a formidable core on the top line. Despite the missed time last season, Okposo still produced a respectable 18 goals and 33 assists in 60 games. He also showed himself as a threat on the power play, scoring six goals and 12 assists with the man advantage. Once again set to play with Tavares and a rotating cast of players on the left wing -- likely Brock Nelson or Anders Lee -- Okposo should once again get plenty of point-scoring opportunities as he works toward his next contract, an expected windfall for the 27-year-old Minnesota native. Okposo is a strong fantasy option as a top liner on one of the highest scoring teams in the league, so he should be a safe bet to reach at least the 20-goal plateau if he can stay on the ice.
Okposo was nothing short of fantastic last season for the Islanders, producing 27 goals and 42 assists, outpacing his previous career-bests in both categories. What makes these numbers even more impressive is that the Okposo missed 11 games, and lost linemate John Tavares to a knee injury for the final month and a half of the season. Fantasy owners are bound to wonder what Okposo can do playing a full season with Tavares. The Islanders certainly have their issues but scoring shouldn't be one of them, especially with Okposo around to take some of the pressure off of Tavares. He will more than likely be a top-20 winger come draft time, and a 30-plus goal season may be within the realm of possibility.
Okposo had a terribly disappointing regular season for the Islanders, scoring only four goals in 48 games. His name was rumored to be on the block at the trade deadline, letting you know how far his stock had fallen. What makes matters even worse was that he started the season playing on the top line with John Tavares and Matt Moulson but was removed for questionable play. Now the good news. The playoffs seemed to light a spark under Okposo as he netted three goals in six games. The Isles will be hoping he will use that as a springboard to the 2013-14 season as he will play on a line with Josh Bailey and either Frans Nielsen or Ryan Strome.
After essentially missing all of the 2010-11 season due to injury, Okposo came back to have his best season in the NHL with 24 goals and 45 points. The production did come at a price however as his plus-minus took a beating. Okposo is a solid player who is more than likely ticketed for second line duty once again. This could be a good thing as he can relax and play his game rather than try to live up to the expectations of being a first round pick and playing on the top line, as it's starting to look like he might not be suited for that role.
The Islanders signed Okposo to a five-year contract in May, signaling that the club still expects big things from the former No. 1 pick. He missed half of last season with a shoulder injury, but only managed five goals in the 38 games he did play. Okposo has also never scored more than 19 goals in a season and has been somewhat of a disappointment. The Islanders do have more talent now and perhaps playing with better linemates will allow Okposo more freedom to find the back of the net.
Okposo is another former first-round pick (2007) that the Islanders are relying on to bring the organization back to respectability. Okposo had his best season to date in 2009-10 with 19 goals, 33 assists, and 249 shots. The Islanders are slowly but surely building a solid team by using the draft to restock their system. This should pay off eventually but it may not be this season for fantasy owners. Still, expect Okposo's production to slowly climb even while the rebuilding process is taking place.
Okposo had some ups and downs in his rookie year. He came out of the gate slow with five points in the first 20 games and seemed very timid at times. He gained confidence as the season progressed and had a strong finish with 16 points over the final 14 games. He was eighth in rookie scoring with 39 points, but first on the Isles in goals (18). He also wound up second in points and power-play goals (9), and third in shots on goal (165). He has enough talent and character to avoid the proverbial sophomore slump, so that should not be a problem in 2009-10. Expect him to crack the 20-goal barrier and pad his overall point total as well.
The future of the Islanders begins with Okposo, the top prospect in the organization. He has everything the team lacks: skating ability, scoring ability and toughness. He left the University of Minnesota and had a brief introduction to professional hockey, scoring a respectable 28 points in 35 games with Bridgeport. He also had a nine-game audition with the Isles (five points). Keep in mind that thereís always an adjustment period to the quality of play in the NHL, and that at some point rookies almost always hit the proverbial wall. Regardless, heís a high-character kid who seems hungry to be successful in this league. Those in keeper leagues need to be mindful of him on draft day.
Okposo is clearly the Islanders' number one prospect right now. He had a fantastic freshman season at the University of Minnesota with 39 points in 38 games. Okposo works hard along the boards, is a fantastic stick handler, and has pretty good size at 6-0 and 200 pounds. Okposo will likely return to Minnesota for his sophomore season, but if the Islanders are worried about their offense this year, they should seriously consider giving him a roster spot if he appears ready in training camp.
Will attend the University of Minnesota in the Fall.
Okposo is a competitor who escalated his draft stock significantly in 2005-06. He won the USHL's rookie-of-the-year award with Des Moines, and is headed to the University of Minnesota in 2006-07. When you watch him play, you'll immediately recognize the power-prowess combination that makes a guy like Jarome Iginla so successful. Time will tell if he can develop that game in the NHL but he's probably the winger with the highest overall ceiling in the 2006 draft class.