NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Barring a miracle, Kyle Okposo has played his last game with the Islanders.
Speaking on Sirius XM NHL Network on Friday morning, general manager Garth Snow wished the veteran winger “nothing but the best” as he enters free agency. While that doesn’t rule out an Okposo return entirely, it’s a pretty clear signal that the Islanders have no intention of meeting his reported asking price.
Okposo, who broke into the NHL at age 19 with the Islanders during the 2007-08 season, reportedly will be seeking a multiyear deal paying around $7 million per season. It is believed the Isles want Okposo back, but at more like $5 million a year.
“We’re just in a situation with the salary cap that you really have to analyze where you are today and where you’re going to be in five years from now. So there’s always tough decisions,” Snow said. “We’re not the only team that has tough decisions to make, and we’re not the only team that potentially could lose free agents on July 1.
“Like I said, Kyle’s a great person. He’s been a terrific player for this organization,” Snow added.
The No. 7 overall pick in the 2006 draft, Okposo has 369 points, including 139 goals, in 529 career games. He posted a career-high 69 points in 2013-14 and had 22 goals and 42 assists this past season as the Islanders recorded their second straight 100-point season and won a playoff round for the first time since 1993.
The Islanders are expected to be active in free agency, as they will likely be looking to replace up to three veteran forwards. Center Frans Nielsen and fourth-line standout Matt Martin could hit the open market as well.
Snow will almost certainly try to upgrade the Islanders’ top line, where Okposo played from time to time during his tenure. Franchise center John Tavares has had a revolving door of linemates throughout his seven-year career, and odds are good the Isles will make getting him some high-end help, either via trade or through free agency, a priority.