Kyle Okposo seemingly has played his last game in an Islanders uniform, and some writers can't figure out why.
In a video report from the draft, ESPN's Scott Burnside and Craig Custance discussed the most intriguing storylines heading into free agency, and Burnside listed the Isles' willingness to let Okposo walk at the top of his list.
"For me, it's Kyle Okposo. I remained mystified that the New York Islanders seem not interested in having [him] come back. To me, brings so much to the table; big, talented. Much loved in that room. John Tavares talked earlier this year to me about how much he respects him and relies on him in terms of leadership. For me, he's a 30 goal, 70 point guy in the right circumstance, so I'm curious to see where Kyle Okposo may end up."
Okposo scored 22 goals and tallied 42 assists in 79 games last season. He has scored 20 goals or more in three of his last five seasons.
Okposo's situation boils down to simply numbers. From all accounts, Okposo seems to have a high figure (some have said as high as an $8 million AAV) in mind for his next deal, and the Islanders just can't seem to justify that number. Kyle's a very talented player, and I know he's one of John Tavares' favorites. I just think it comes down to whether Garth thinks he needs a serious upgrade to make a big run at the Cup.
If he signs Okposo to that kind of deal, he's basically committed to JT and Kyle as his two core players for the remainder of this window, and I just don't know if Snow is convinced that's good enough to go all the way.
The Isles front office is locked up as tight as Fort Knox on information right now, and it just makes me think that they have something big in mind. If Okposo, Nielsen, and Martin are all going to walk away, the Islanders better make a big strike that makes this club better, whether through a trade or free agency. Otherwise, I'll be mystified, too.