In their weekly naming of the three stars of the week the NHL acknowledged a terrific stretch from the Islanders’ Kyle Okposo by naming him the second star of the week. The Isles played three games last week, against the Vancouver Canucks, San Jose Sharks and Buffalo Sabres, and during those contests Okposo put up a goal and six assists.
In the grand scheme this is an individual accolade which means very little to the Isles as a team, and probably very little to the player as well. Getting hot for a short stretch, especially one that includes a game against the hapless Sabres, in the midst of a disastrous season is not something to get too excited about.
What is worth noting is that he has been producing at a high level even without John Tavares in the lineup, something that many did not think Okposo was capable of. Okposo’s talents seemed to be discredited by the United States Olympic selection committee, and most Okposo advocates point to Tavares’ presence during his breakout season as the main reason why Okposo did not garner any consideration for the National team (and with the complete lack of scoring late in that tournament hindsight seems to suggest they could have used him). Maybe next time around the committee will give players having terrific seasons a bit more attention during the process rather than taking players on reputation alone.
Okposo’s ability to consistently put up numbers in the wake of the Tavares injury should bode well for the franchise in the future. Isles fans can only hope that is the case,
Okposo currently sits tied for fourth in the NHL with 69 points this season,trailing only Sidney Crosby, Phil Kessel and Ryan Getlaf, and has already established new career highs in goals (27) and assists (42) this year. If Okposo can maintain his scoring pace he will become the first Islander player to score 82 or more points in a season since Zigmund Palffy in 1997-98.