There had been rumors for quite some time that Doug Weight was going to hang up his skates to conclude a distinguishd NHL career that spanned some 19 years. He made the announcement yesterday, and will stay on with the organization as an assistant coach and special advisor to Garth Snow.
It was, to me, a shame that injuries limited Weight’s play as an Islander over the last 3 seasons. I can remember when he first played as A Ranger after being drafted by them in 1990, and I could have never foresaw him ending his career as a New York Islander. Weight went on to be fortunate enough to have his name on the Stanley Cup and finished with 1034 career points and 278 career goals. As captain of the Isles, he was an invaluable presence in the locker room, and undoubtedly had a significantly positive impact on the young group of players. In particular, John Tavares, who lived in the guest house of the Weights, benefited quite a bit having the potential hall of famer to take him under his wing.Additionally, besides the news of Dub Weight retiring, the Isles announced that they have come to terms with Kyle Okposo and have signed him for 5 years. Okposo will make 4.5 million dollars in his fifth year, but more importantly, it is another building block for the core of the team who will be in place for the long term. I believe that Kyle will be the next captain of the Islanders, and he surely would deserve this honor.
Okposo, who had 5 goals and 15 assists in a season that was shortened significantly because of a shoulder injury in training camp, seemed to slip in quite well in a line with Michael Grabner and Frans Nielsen. His presence certainly solidified that unit, and it is a comforting thing, as an Islander fan and an Okposo fan, to know that he will be part of the team as they take steps forward to build a winning club. The offensive and defensive abilities of Okposo, as well as his leadership and ease in interacting with the media simply makes him a valuable asset for any hockey team.
Thus, though we have lost the contributions of a class act on the ice in Doug Weight, the New York Islanders have yet made another statement by locking in Kyle Okposo for the long term. With the vote on a new arena coming August 1, this is another indication and move by Garth Snow that this team is looking to compete and win in the near future. Make no mistakes about that, folks. Charles and Garth got the deals done with Grabner and Okposo, and with the movement towards a new building, it will undoubtedly catch the attention of potential free agents. All positives, as far as I am concerned.
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