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Annual expectations thread 2022/23: #21 Kyle Okposo


dudacek
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What do you expect from Kyle Okposo?  

51 members have voted

  1. 1. Which of these best describes what you think the Sabres will get from Okposo this year?

    • Regression to the injury plagued 4th liner he was prior to this past season
    • Reduced offence as age take its toll and/or the kids start to surpass him, but still a good contribution in a middle six role
    • A similar season in terms of production and usage to the 2021/22 season.
  2. 2. Do you think Kyle Okposo will be named captain this season?

    • No
    • Yes, but it will be a mistake
    • Yes, and I think he’s a good choice


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After 2 years of mildly disappointing play, a scary, life-altering injury, and 2 subsequent years where Ralph Krueger tried to use him as the NHL’s most overpaid 4th-line grinder, Kyle Okposo finally emerged in the 6th season of a 7-year contract as a key member of a reasonably likeable Buffalo Sabres team.

Not only did the man teammates called “Dad” become an articulate ambassador for the beginnings of the reforging of a renewed connection with a jaded Buffalo fanbase, and a clear leader for the most unified dressing room the Sabres had shown in years, he also reignited his offence with his best numbers in six years. Skating in all situations for an average of 16:47 a night, Okposo finished 29th among all NHL right wings in points, and 24th in goals.

https://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=93992

As the franchise drops hints he might be on the verge of being named captain, Okposo enters the last year of his contract facing questions about whether he can repeat his renaissance on and off the ice and be a glue guy for a team on the rise.

What do you expect from him this year?

(Last year’s takes here):

 

Edited by dudacek
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Kyle okposo is underrated by this board. He is an extremely stable and useful veteran player who contributes to any line you put him on. He's the heart and captain of this team. 

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I don’t expect a performance dip if he remains healthy.  His game doesn’t seem to have fading skill sets and his legs are keeping up.  At least last season they kept up.  His shot hasn’t faded at all and his game is predicated on pressure on the puck.  He still gets to pucks so it should remain effective.

He’ll be captain, and the right captain.

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Jochen Hecht with leadership skills.  He'll wear the C for the year.

(Lest anyone think I'm damning Okposo with this:  I liked Hecht and thought he was an important, but overpaid, part of the teams he was in.)

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I fully expect Okposo to be named the next captain and to maintain his 5v5 production. I'm curious to see if he'll stay on the PP2 unit now that we have Quinn, Power, and a healthy Mitts on the roster. 

It'll be interesting to see if we re-sign him after his contract expires.

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1 hour ago, Mustache of God said:

I fully expect Okposo to be named the next captain and to maintain his 5v5 production. I'm curious to see if he'll stay on the PP2 unit now that we have Quinn, Power, and a healthy Mitts on the roster. 

It'll be interesting to see if we re-sign him after his contract expires.

With him being given the C … it’s all but guaranteed he won’t be re-signed.  

This is the way.

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13 minutes ago, pi2000 said:

You simply cannot give him the C as he's on an expiring contract.

KA needs to leave open the option of moving him at the deadline.

I disagree. Giving him the C this year lets him mentor whichever younger leader will eventually be the captain but it not yet ready. With a year left on his contract you can either extend him another year or be ready to hand over the reigns next season to the player that earns it.

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32 minutes ago, pi2000 said:

You simply cannot give him the C as he's on an expiring contract.

KA needs to leave open the option of moving him at the deadline.

This is a great point.  I don't necessarily agree, but it implicates a bunch of fundamental questions about where the Sabres are, what KA's priorities are, what KA's message to the team is, etc., including:

- Is KA trying to make the playoffs this year?  If so, it kinda seems like KO should and will be named captain, as that would send the message to the team to the effect of "Yes, this roster is mostly young and unproven, but I believe in this roster and its leadership group, and I know that everyone looks at KO as a leader, and we don't need to wait another year for another leader to emerge, because KO can lead you guys where we all want to go." 

OTOH, not naming KO captain would kinda send the opposite message, i.e. "I don't know yet whether you guys are going to be able to get it done, and you were pretty lousy again last year, so I'm not locking anything in until I see more from this roster."

- As a related point:  does KA think the team has enough prospects and picks in the pipeline so that he doesn't need to leave open the option of trading KO at the deadline?  Or is he still in assemble-as-many-picks-and-prospects-as-possible mode?  Realistically, even if KO, who turned 34 in April, repeats his productivity from last year, he'd probably bring back at most a 2nd-round pick, and more likely a 3rd-rounder, with the pick likely falling in the last 1/3 of whatever round it is.  Is that a valuable enough asset to not give the C to KO?

- What does it mean if Dahlin or Cozens or a different younger player is given the C instead of KO?  Does it mean that KA thinks the team will get there eventually but not this year?  Or just that it's quite possible that this is KO's last year and so it doesn't make sense to give him the C?

In any case, I voted for option #2 and making him the captain w/o it being a mistake. 

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Every one of these polls has had a resoundingly positive outcome. Logic says there’s no way every single one of these things breaks in our favour, but nonetheless I couldn’t bring myself to pick against that grain, here.

Like Kyle too much so went with option B. 

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I think he should be captain, and unless he falls off a cliff, extended in the season for a low-ish value, 2-3 year contract if he'll take it. Being in the top 32 RW in points and goals, though, he might be looking at one last payday and/or cup run (which is pretty unlikely for Buffalo in the next two years).

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2 minutes ago, MattPie said:

I think he should be captain, and unless he falls off a cliff, extended in the season for a low-ish value, 2-3 year contract if he'll take it. Being in the top 32 RW in points and goals, though, he might be looking at one last payday and/or cup run (which is pretty unlikely for Buffalo in the next two years).

If in any way possible I’d prefer to sign him to one-year deals after this season. I could see him not being favourable to those terms, though.

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11 minutes ago, Thorny said:

If in any way possible I’d prefer to sign him to one-year deals after this season. I could see him not being favourable to those terms, though.

I agree, it'd be nice to be able to sign all players to one-year deals. 😉 I say 2-3 because I think that's something he *might* go for. That takes him to 36-37 years old, which after that you offer 1 or maybe 2 years deals if it's still working.

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47 minutes ago, nfreeman said:

This is a great point.  I don't necessarily agree, but it implicates a bunch of fundamental questions about where the Sabres are, what KA's priorities are, what KA's message to the team is, etc., including:

- Is KA trying to make the playoffs this year?  If so, it kinda seems like KO should and will be named captain, as that would send the message to the team to the effect of "Yes, this roster is mostly young and unproven, but I believe in this roster and its leadership group, and I know that everyone looks at KO as a leader, and we don't need to wait another year for another leader to emerge, because KO can lead you guys where we all want to go." 

OTOH, not naming KO captain would kinda send the opposite message, i.e. "I don't know yet whether you guys are going to be able to get it done, and you were pretty lousy again last year, so I'm not locking anything in until I see more from this roster."

- As a related point:  does KA think the team has enough prospects and picks in the pipeline so that he doesn't need to leave open the option of trading KO at the deadline?  Or is he still in assemble-as-many-picks-and-prospects-as-possible mode?  Realistically, even if KO, who turned 34 in April, repeats his productivity from last year, he'd probably bring back at most a 2nd-round pick, and more likely a 3rd-rounder, with the pick likely falling in the last 1/3 of whatever round it is.  Is that a valuable enough asset to not give the C to KO?

- What does it mean if Dahlin or Cozens or a different younger player is given the C instead of KO?  Does it mean that KA thinks the team will get there eventually but not this year?  Or just that it's quite possible that this is KO's last year and so it doesn't make sense to give him the C?

In any case, I voted for option #2 and making him the captain w/o it being a mistake. 

None of this, in and of itself is faulty logic.

To me, it’s pretty simple: name him captain fully intending to keep him at the deadline and re-sign him in the summer, or you sign him to a 1-year extension now.

I don’t think Kyle fits the mercenary playing for himself not the team role. You know what you have, and his commitment to your program. You how his value to the rebuild is greater than the return at the deadline. 

The issue of him wearing the C only arises when his legs fail him. Like every captain before him, you cross that bridge when it comes.

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IMO, Give him the "C" and sign him to a one-year extension now, during camp.  If we are not close to making the playoffs and he is not in the top 9ish offensive players you move him at the deadline.  Having another year of control and being our captain only increases his value.  Trying to get him to sign a one year deal after the season when he is a URFA and team captain only seems more difficult. 

 

ps but lets hope we are competing for a playoff spot!!!

 

pps "Playoffs you are talking about the playoffs?" Jim mora 🙂

 

 

 

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I think he’ll continue to play like he did last year as long as he’s healthy. His production may drop as some of his PP time is reduced however. 
 

I’d offer him the captaincy and a one year extension. We are not in a desperate need of lesser assets to need the flexibility to trade Okposo or Girgs. (I highly doubt we’d even get a 2nd much less a 1st barring a production explosion)

If I’m choosing between a 3rd, 4th and 5th in the latter part of each round or keeping the team whole; I’m keeping us whole.

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I see Okposo doing well again this season and I'm hoping that he's able to stay fully healthy.  He told us that he really enjoyed playing on the team and he's proud to be a Sabre.  He's embraced the leadership role and loves being able to mentor and help the younger players.  He's a big supporter of Don Granato and I'm sure the coach can utilize Okposo to help carry the message forward consistently to the rest of the team.  He is helping to develop the next leaders (including the next Captain) on this team.  This past season and the the season to come will serve as a bit of "fountain of youth" for him.

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Really expect Okposo to have essentially the season he did last year.

Is he the the next captain?  No figgin' idea.  He's the conscience of this team & Tuch is it's heart.  One is the representative of the past that stayed professional while all around him was falling apart the other is the representative of the future where all the little details matter and letting things fall apart will in no way be acceptable..  Which does Granato and Adams want wearing the C?  Again, no friggin' idea but either will be an obvious choice in hindsight and the one that gets the A will be the other guy's biggest supporter.

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I don't see Kyle duplicating last year's numbers at 34.

But I don't expect much of a drop-off in his 5-on-5 play. He will play hard and will play smart and he will find a way to be effective.

Some people see the need to add a veteran who the kids will have to leap over in order to earn their place.

I see Okposo as that guy. To me, he opens the season as the #4 forward behind Skinner, Thompson and Tuch.

Girgensons or Hinostroza are the stick: They're here to make sure Krebs, Cozens, Quinn, Peterka, Asplund, Olofsson and Mittelstadt play hard or they sit.

Okposo is the carrot. He is here to make sure they play well.

You want PP time? Outplay Kyle. PK time? Outplay Kyle. 15 minutes a game? Outplay Kyle. Crunch time ice time? You guessed it.

If enough of them measure up, we'll have a good team.

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9 hours ago, dudacek said:

I don't see Kyle duplicating last year's numbers at 34.

But I don't expect much of a drop-off in his 5-on-5 play. He will play hard and will play smart and he will find a way to be effective.

Some people see the need to add a veteran who the kids will have to leap over in order to earn their place.

I see Okposo as that guy. To me, he opens the season as the #4 forward behind Skinner, Thompson and Tuch.

Girgensons or Hinostroza are the stick: They're here to make sure Krebs, Cozens, Quinn, Peterka, Asplund, Olofsson and Mittelstadt play hard or they sit.

Okposo is the carrot. He is here to make sure they play well.

You want PP time? Outplay Kyle. PK time? Outplay Kyle. 15 minutes a game? Outplay Kyle. Crunch time ice time? You guessed it.

If enough of them measure up, we'll have a good team.

Olofsson has almost played more nhl games than the rest of those guys listed, combined. He's not a kid, he's another veteran on this team. 

Edited by LGR4GM
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