Isles Hope Okposo is on the Verge of Stardom
The New York Islanders selected Kyle Okposo 7th overall in the 2006 draft, hoping the former USHL Rookie of the Year would develop in to that rare commodity: an elite NHL power forward.
It has been a mixed run for the Minnesota native since he made his debut in 2008; but after a stand out performance in last years play-offs, and a strong start to the new season, Kyle Okposo may finally have arrived.
Okposo set a career high 52 points in his sophomore year, after a strong rookie campaign (18+21 in 65 games) in 2008/09. But his progress was dented following shoulder surgery in January 2011.
He returned to action with a 24 goal campaign the following season, but many felt the Team USA forward was struggling to reach his potential.
Okposo registered just 4 goals in the lock out shortened 2012/13 season; but came alive in the post season, as the Isles season extended in to the spring for the first time in six years.
Whilst the Islanders may have been despatched by the Penguins in round 1, they gave the former champions one hell of a shock with Okposo front and centre for the men in blue.
His 3 goals and 4 points don’t tell the full story, as Okposo moved up an extra gear and became a real force for the Islanders, with his stocky frame leaving a number of Penguins battered and bruised by the end of the round.
Okposo seems to have continued in the same vein so far this season, scoring 6 goals and 20 points in the clubs opening 21 games. Whilst the franchise may have stumbled this year, going 8-10-3 so far, seeing Okposo making serious strides is encouraging for a team built around its young core – of which Okposo should be an integral part.
The 25-year old is currently on pace to pass 20 goals for the third time in his career; and there is little doubt the Isles would welcome that kind of output on a regular basis, if only to ease the burden on superstar Captain John Tavares.
If Okposo can become a regular 20+ goal scorer, and continues to dominate in the play-offs, the Islanders dreams of lifting the Stanley Cup again will be one step closer.
The winger dropped off many peoples radars – maybe it is part of playing for an Islanders team that was stuck in the basement for so long, maybe it’s because his numbers wavered – but Okposo is starting to display the kind of abilities that turn run-of-the-mill players in to stars.
Okposo has the potential. Here’s hoping his finally tapping in to it.