As fun as it’s been to watch this New York Islanders team this season, it hasn’t been a year without frustration. One player in particular that has been frustrating, both for the Islanders and their fans, is Kyle Okposo. That frustration that surrounds Okposo goes back beyond this season.
The former seventh overall pick hasn’t quite grown into the player the Islanders were hoping for when they selected him back in 2006. He’s flashed some serious potential, but has been unable to string that potential into consistent, 25-30 goal-scoring success like everyone had hoped.
In the waning weeks of the regular season, though, Okposo is starting to step his game up. We saw last year that he’s capable of putting the puck in the back of the net with some regularity, as he scored 24 goals last season. He got off to a miserable start this year, though, which brought back the questions of whether or not it was worth it to keep him around.
As we head into the home stretch of the regular season, and the Islanders stand on the cusp of their first postseason appearance since the 2006-2007 season, Okposo has become much more noticeable, both out on the ice and in the box score.
Okposo’s 22 points on the season are disappointing, no doubt. But those figures would be even more disappointing if it were not for this solid stretch that he’s been turning in recently. The month of April has seen Okposo record eight of his 22 points.
While eight points in 10 games doesn’t exactly scream “hot streak”, Okposo is making his presence felt in other ways. His possession numbers are solid, he’s setting up his teammates, playing the physical game if he has to, and being a positive presence in the locker room. That second line has become a dangerous one behind the already potent top line for the Isles.
Of course, it’s probably frustrating that Okposo ended the year hot last year, started off miserably this year, before getting hot again towards the end of the year. It’s great that Okposo has proven he can step up when the situation calls for it, but he’ll have to demonstrate more consistency earlier in the season in the future.
Nonetheless, having a player like Okposo, who can impact the game in so many ways and can be a clutch player when the situation calls for it, when the postseason starts, can be a real asset for the New York Islanders.