Kyle Okposo’s Signing with Non-Contender Surprising, but He Will Improve Sabres

July 1st, 2016 by Adrian Dater Leave a reply »

When Steven Stamkos took himself off the market on Wednesday, Kyle Okposo immediately went to the top of several free-agent rankings, including mine. There were a couple of reasons for that.

First, Okposo was one of the younger players available at 28.

Second, among all forwards available entering Friday's opening bell of the market, none had more points over the last three seasons than him. As tabulated by's Scott Cullen, Okposo's 184 points in 210 games over the last three seasons were eight more than Jiri Hudler's 176 and 22 more than Andrew Ladd's 162.

The Buffalo Sabres were impressed enough by that and presumably other things about Okposo to offer him a seven-year, $42 million contract, which the native of Saint Paul, Minnesota, agreed to on Friday. That contract equaled that of Milan Lucic in Edmonton as the richest of the day (a deal first reported by Pierre LeBrun of ESPN).

Given that other teams had interest in Okposo—including the Minnesota Wild, as reported by Michael Russo of the Star Tribune—it was something of a surprise that he chose Buffalo.

The Wild have not ...

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