Darren Dreger appeared on TSN690 Montreal on Tuesday morning and said that the Islanders aren't "really shopping" Okposo, but "he is available."
It was reported earlier in the week that the Islanders' winger was on the trade block.
"Then we get into semantics, on the trade block sounds like they are trying to push him out," Dreger said, "but available is a more user-friendly way if you are the Isles brass of maybe saying that you want to make some changes, looking at some contract concerns that we may have in the future, young players are developing quicker than we thought who could absorb his role."
Seeing how much of a role Okposo has had with the team the last few years, Dreger was surprised to hear his name come up in trade rumors.
"This is in the category of we aren’t really shopping him, per se, but he is available," Dreger continued. "That is the message we are getting from the Isles cautiously and from GMs around the league. It's a surprising name because of how impactful Okposo can be and has been for the Isles."
The Islanders' return on a possible Okposo deal would have to be pretty substantial, according to Dreger.
"For them to make that deal it will have to be a considerable return, and what is that?" Dreger said. "I’m not even sure, it’s such a fresh name to the pile that it will take some days to sort through but my guess, again is first-round pick and something else."
Okposo had 51 points in 60 games this past season, missing time due to a detached retina. He had three playoff points, which, according to Pierre McGuire, frustrated the Islanders.
Would I trade Okposo? Depends on the deal.
To me, here are the advantages of keeping Kyle. He's has an established relationship with John Tavares. He also cares deeply for the organization, so he may be open to signing his next deal at somewhat of a discount to help the team from getting into a cap crunch situation (remember: at some point, JT is going to need a new deal, and that number will be deservedly big). Plus, he's 27, so if you're swapping Kyle for an established player, you have to know that you're probably going to trade up in years.
Now, on the flip side, Tavares has made tons of players look good, Okposo's eye injury makes me somewhat nervous, and he never really kicked it into full gear this season (with the exception of his torrid streak right before he went down with the retina injury). All those caveats aside, Kyle is a very skilled player. If the Islanders are going to move him, it needs to be a very significant upgrade.