There were plenty of positives during the regular season for the New York Islanders. John Tavares elevated his game, some young players took a step forward, and the Isles were able to snap their postseason appearance drought in grabbing the no. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference.
As far as the regular season goes, though, it was another disappointing year for Kyle Okposo. Coming off of a season in which he tallied 24 goals, just four during the season didn’t meet expectations, for Okposo or for the Islanders. He finished with 24 points overall on the season.
That’s not a terrible total. But Okposo has failed to meet expectations, in one way or another, pretty steadily over his career, ever since being drafted no. 7 overall back in 2006. Heading into the 2013-14 season, though, he’ll have higher expectations than many might realize.
As disappointing as Okposo may have been during the regular season, in terms of his production, he quietly had an outstanding postseason. Though the Islanders were unable to make it past the sixth game of the first round, Okposo made sure that he was noticed during the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.
The power forward was tough for the Pittsburgh Penguins to handle in that series. He finished with four points in six games, including three goals, nearly matching his total goal production from the regular season. One of those goals was a game-winner, coming in Game 2.
Even better than what he did on the stat sheet was the way in which he played. He was winning battles along the boards, and certainly looked to have an extra step compared to what he had done in the regular season.
Kyle Okposo can thank his postseason play for the expectations that he will surely have heading into next season. With playoff appearances come expectations, meaning the Islanders will have them as a group. But Okposo will be expected to breakout next year, based off of what he did in six games this spring.