The New York Islanders forward Kyle Okposo was always seemingly destined for free agency, but recent comments by team GM Garth Snow cements it. What does it mean for the Islanders going into free agency?
The New York Islanders and their fan-base were getting ready for forward Kyle Okposo to hit free agency this July. The 28-year-old was without a contract and talks had seemed to have stalled or stopped altogether.
Today GM Garth Snow coyly confirmed on Sirius XM radio that the Islanders wouldn’t be signing Okposo: “We wish him [Okposo] nothing but the best.”
The comments certainly leave the door open to have the Isles double back should the opportunity present itself, but the door is barely open. If we’re going to continue using a door metaphor.
Snow went a bit further with his comments, essentially stating that a big factor in not giving Okposo an extension was because of salary cap considerations. Something that Isles fans are going to have to take away and digest a bit.
Want to hear the whole interview follow this link: Soundcloud.
Kyle Okposo and the Market
If salary cap consideration were the true cause of the Isles turning away from a player they drafted seventh overall in 2006, then it means that Okposo was likely asking for more than the Islanders were planning on paying him, or were willing to pay him.
According to some Okposo is looking to ask for $6.5 million over six years for his next deal. The free agent market certainly supports a deal of this magnitude, especially for a player of Okposo’s caliber.
The issue then becomes, who can the Islanders get to replace Okposo on the wing, with similar production at a smaller cap hit?
The answer isn’t obvious and we couldn’t think of one immediately. Which naturally leads us to believe Snow will try to promote from within. A move that isn’t unlike the Islanders and fits their approach of recent years.
However, fans were hopeful that the team would look to spend in order to attract, or retain the right level of talent in order to make this team more competitive, and to push on from last year’s second round finish.
The $16.75 million deal given to center Casey Cizikas seemed like a signal from ownership that the team would indeed spend on the right talent. Or would at the very least pay market prices for players.
Letting Okposo pulls the rug from under this theory. If the Isles are ready to let Okposo walk for what are cap consideration they will find it difficult to find an equal or better replacement. It’s not to say that a youngster can’t come up and fill the void, it’s just a big risk to take.
Isles fans might feel hard done by this bit of news, and they’d be right to feel that way. We always felt that Okposo would leave in free agency, but to leave because they can’t keep up with the market leaves a sour taste for the future.