NHL Free Agency: Buffalo Sabres sign Kyle Okposo to seven-year deal
They missed out on Stamkos, but the Sabres have landed the next biggest fish in free agency by signing Kyle Okposo.
The Buffalo Sabres have made their first big splash in free agency in years as they have signed right winger Kyle Okposo to a seven-year, $42 million contract.
Okposo signs with Buffalo. 7 years, $6 mil aav.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) July 1, 2016
The Sabres and GM Tim Murray seemed to be hell-bent on spending money in the offseason, but after losing out on Steven Stamkos, the organization set their sights on the next biggest player available in Okposo. The hefty winger was given a hefty raise for a reason - he's a freight train on skates weighing 220 lbs and with excellent skating ability, and has put up 184 points in 210 games combined over the past three seasons. According to Darren Dreger, Okposo's contract is also heavily front-loaded.
Drafted 7th overall in the 2006 draft, the 28-year old winger has been a key offensive piece for the Islanders over the past few years, and has been a key piece in the locker room, wearing the A for the Isles since 2009. He is by all reports a smart, considerate teammate, in addition to being a hard worker on the ice.
There are worries that Okposo only put up points because he was playing with John Tavares, but that shouldn't be a concern for two reasons. First, he actually played more with Frans Nielsen than Tavares last season, and second, he'll have either Ryan O'Reilly or Jack Eichel as his center, both of whom are great playmakers themselves.
If there is one concern about Okposo, he's battled some injuries throughout his career, and in two of his last five seasons, played in 60 games or less. When he's on the ice, however, he's been very productive, and has good looking fancy stats. Per this WGR article by Matthew Coller, Okposo has a positive relative Corsi, a top-20 individual points percentage, and is 22nd in the NHL over the past three years in points-per-60 minutes.
The newest Sabres player already has Buffalo connection - Okposo is the godfather to one of Matt Moulson's children - and now the Godfather is a Buffalo Sabre. We'll have more free agency coverage throughout the day, but give us your thoughts on Okposo and his deal in the comments.
Here are some more stats on the player.
Okposo (Sabres) is an amazing offensive talent; much better than commonly imagined. Draws pens, high QoC (and QoT). pic.twitter.com/ZlmpW714xB— Micah Blake McCurdy (@IneffectiveMath) July 1, 2016
Updated 1:04pm, 7/1/2016