2016 NHL Free Agency: Kyle Okposo, a less expensive offensive option?
Kyle Okposo is one of the top options for teams looking for offensive upgrades in the free agent market. Is he worth the Wings' interest?
If Detroit does not sign Steven Stamkos, will they look elsewhere in the free agent market for offense? New York Islanders beat writer Arthur Staple says the Wings are looking into Kyle Okposo.
Sounds like no shortage of suitors for Kyle Okposo now that UFA contact window has opened. WPG, STL, LAK, MIN, DET among them, source says.— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) June 25, 2016
Okposo is considered one of the top free agents for teams looking for offense, so what would he bring to the Red Wings?
Position: Right Wing
Height/Weight: 6'0" / 217 Lbs
Born: April 16, 1988 (Age 28)
Hometown: Saint Paul, Minnesota
What does Okposo have to offer?
Kyle Okposo has a wicked wrist shot and a nose for the net. He is tenacious in the attack and never gives up on the play. He's willing to go to the hard areas to score, but is also capable of beating a goalie with a wrister from the circles. One knock on him is that his stats are inflated from playing with John Tavares, but if you watch his highlights from last year, you will see how many goals he scores because of his own work.
Another hole in that theory is he played 490 5v5 minutes without Tavares and 407 5v5 minutes with the Islanders captain. His most common linemates were Frans Nielsen and Nikolay Kulemin.
He is far from an enforcer, but he is unafraid to drop the gloves when required. He has frequently come to Tavares' aid when other players take liberties with him, which would be nice to have paired with our young talent like Dylan Larkin when things like this happen.
Kyle Okposo is one of a few free agents available who could slot in as a legitimate top-line winger. He also brings leadership experience to a team that is seeing many of its leaders closer to the end of their careers than the beginning.
Hero chart from Own the Puck.
Should the Wings target Kyle Okposo?
Absolutely, at the right price. If Steven Stamkos is not a Red Wing next season, Kyle Okposo would provide an offensive upgrade to a team in need of one. The reason not to target him is the price. Since he is one of few top offensive players available, the potential for his getting a ridiculous contract is very real. The Wings should only sign him at a realistic price, so don't be surprised if he goes elsewhere.
Another argument against signing him is that it would take away a roster spot from one of the up-and-comers. If that's your argument, and it does make sense, consider this: The Wings have a very real need for a top defenseman, and that seems only possible through the trade market. If the Wings want to add both scoring and defense, signing Okposo and including a young winger or two in a deal to bring in a top pairing defenseman could be a better move than signing Stamkos and not upgrading the defense.