Kyle Okposo

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Kyle Okposo
Kyle Okposo - New York Islanders.jpg
Okposo with the New York Islanders in January 2015
Born (1988-04-16) April 16, 1988 (age 28)
Saint Paul, MN, USA
Height 6 ft 0 in (183 cm)
Weight 216 lb (98 kg; 15 st 6 lb)
Position Right Wing
Shoots Right
NHL team
Former teams
Buffalo Sabres
New York Islanders
NHL Draft 7th overall, 2006
New York Islanders
Playing career 2007–present

Kyle Henry Erovre Okposo (born April 16, 1988) is an American professional ice hockey right winger for the Buffalo Sabres of the National Hockey League (NHL). He was drafted seventh overall in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft by the New York Islanders, for whom he played from 2008 to 2016.

Playing career[edit]

Junior and college[edit]

Okposo played one season in the United States Hockey League (USHL) with the Des Moines Buccaneers in which he was named the most valuable player of the USHL playoffs and the league's top rookie. He helped the Buccaneers to a Clark Cup victory.

During his freshman season at University of Minnesota, Okposo was placed at the center position, even though he is a natural winger. Throughout most of the season this became his most common position due to the abundance of wingers on the team. In January 2007, he played for the U.S. National Junior Team in the 2007 IIHF World Junior Championship. On June 7, 2007, Okposo announced he would be returning to the University of Minnesota for the 2007–08 season. Okposo played the 2007–08 season for the University of Minnesota ice hockey team until December 19, 2007. On that morning Okposo notified his teammates at the university of his decision to leave the team. Soon after, both the Gophers and the New York Islanders announced officially that Okposo decided to leave college after the completion of his current semester and would then begin his professional hockey career.

Okposo with the New York Islanders in 2011

Okposo's decision to leave school was considered controversial by some. As a response to questioning, Islanders general manager Garth Snow told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, "Quite frankly, we weren't happy with the program. They have a responsibility to coach, to make Kyle a better player, and they were not doing that."[1]

Coach Don Lucia then claimed that the Islanders put him "in a very difficult position." [2] In his response to Snow's comments, Lucia emphasized the importance of obtaining a degree, "We have had numerous players sign and play in the NHL, but just as important many more move on to have successful careers after graduating from the University of Minnesota. We have always and will continue to work to ensure our players reach their potential on the ice and in the classroom."[3]

New York Islanders[edit]

Okposo signed an entry-level contract with the Islanders and was assigned to their top minor league affiliate, the AHL's Bridgeport Sound Tigers. He made his NHL debut on March 18, 2008, against the Toronto Maple Leafs, and netted his first career NHL goal on March 21, 2008, against the New Jersey Devils, a game-winner scored on the powerplay against Martin Brodeur.[4] He also scored in his final game of the season in a game against the New York Rangers.

On September 17, 2009, Okposo suffered a mild concussion after a check to the head by Dion Phaneuf. He returned to the Islanders' lineup for their opening game on October 3, 2009. On May 25, 2011, he signed a five-year, $14 million contract with the New York Islanders.[5]

Okposo broke out in the 2013–14 season, shortly after a strong 2013 playoffs against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Playing on a line mostly with John Tavares and Thomas Vanek, Okposo scored 69 points in 71 games, leading the Islanders in points for the first and only time since Tavares joined the Islanders. He scored his 100th career goal on October 14, 2014 against the New York Rangers.

Buffalo Sabres[edit]

Okposo became an unrestricted free agent on July 1, 2016. Okposo was one of the most heavily sought free agents on the market. Okposo signed a seven-year, $42 million contract with the Buffalo Sabres shortly after the signing window opened that day.[6]

Personal life[edit]

Okposo was born to Kome and Michelle Okposo.[7][8]

Okposo married his wife, Danielle, on July 28, 2012.[9] Elliana, their first child was born on January 6, 2014,[10] Their second was born in April 2016.

Career statistics[edit]

Okposo with the New York Islanders during the 2013 playoffs

Regular season and playoffs[edit]

Regular season Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
2005-06 Des Moines Buccaneers USHL 50 27 31 58 56 11 5 11 16 8
2006–07 University of Minnesota WCHA 33 17 20 37 30 7 2 1 3 4
2007–08 University of Minnesota WCHA 18 7 4 11 6
2007–08 Bridgeport Sound Tigers AHL 35 9 19 28 12
2007–08 New York Islanders NHL 9 2 3 5 2
2008–09 New York Islanders NHL 65 18 21 39 36
2008–09 Bridgeport Sound Tigers AHL 2 1 0 1 2
2009–10 New York Islanders NHL 80 19 33 52 34
2010–11 New York Islanders NHL 38 5 15 20 40
2011–12 New York Islanders NHL 79 24 21 45 46
2012–13 New York Islanders NHL 48 4 20 24 38 6 3 1 4 5
2013–14 New York Islanders NHL 71 27 42 69 51
2014–15 New York Islanders NHL 60 18 33 51 12 7 2 1 3 2
2015–16 New York Islanders NHL 79 22 42 64 51 8 1 6 7 4
NHL totals 529 139 230 369 310 21 6 8 14 11

International[edit]

Year Team Event Result GP G A Pts PIM
2005 United States WHC17 5th 5 2 2 4 2
2007 United States WJC 3rd, bronze medalist(s) 7 0 1 1 2
2008 United States WJC 4th 6 1 5 6 2
2009 United States WC 4th 9 2 3 5 10
2010 United States WC 13th 6 1 2 3 0
2012 United States WC 7th 8 2 1 3 0
Junior totals 18 3 8 11 6
Senior totals 23 5 6 11 10

Awards and honors[edit]

Medal record
Representing  United States
Ice hockey
World Junior Championships
Bronze medal – third place 2007 Mora
Award Year
USHL
Rookie of the Year 2006
Clark Cup playoffs MVP 2006
First All-Star Team 2006
All-Rookie Team 2006
College
All-WCHA Rookie Team 2007
All-WCHA Second Team 2007

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Harris: NHL's Islanders sign Okposo away from Minnesota". USA Today. January 2, 2008. Retrieved May 7, 2010. 
  2. ^ "Okposo leaves Minnesota to sign with New York Islanders". USA Today. December 19, 2007. Retrieved May 7, 2010. 
  3. ^ "Isles GM says Lucia's coaching hurt Okposo". Star Tribune. 2007-12-20. Retrieved 2008-01-02. 
  4. ^ "Okposo's first a game winner over Devils". Newsday. 2008-03-21. Retrieved 2008-03-23. 
  5. ^ "Okposo agrees to 5-year deal with Islanders". Yahoo!. 2011-05-25. Retrieved 2011-05-26. 
  6. ^ "Kyle Okposo joining Buffalo". National Hockey League. 2016-07-01. Retrieved 2016-07-01. 
  7. ^ Marcus, Steven (Nov 19, 2009). "Okposo returns home for a party with family, friends". Retrieved June 30, 2016. 
  8. ^ Kreda, Allan (October 2014). "Another Step Towards Stardom: Rising Star Kyle Okposo". Retrieved June 30, 2016. 
  9. ^ "Danielle & Kyle". Retrieved October 22, 2014. 
  10. ^ Rosen, Dan (January 6, 2014). "New dad Okposo misses Isles' game vs. Stars". Retrieved October 22, 2014. 

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Ryan O'Marra
New York Islanders first round pick
2006
Succeeded by
Josh Bailey