The New York Islanders are off to possibly the best start in franchise history at 31-14-1, good for second in the Eastern Conference. One of the run’s biggest cogs however, will be absent possibly until late March.
— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) January 26, 2015
Kyle Okposo has been a staple on captain John Tavares‘s right wing, posting 44 points with 14 goals after his 27 goal year in 2013-14. Him and Tavares have combined for 35 goals and 89 points, the best scoring duo on the team. The 26-year old Minnesota native’s true value however, is his shot. Okposo leads the team in shots on goal with 154, and was on pace for the best year of his young career.
Okposo’s individual Corsi(Fenwick+shots directed at net that were blocked) tops the Isles at 192. He’s been encouraged to shoot the puck more the past few seasons and he seems to be reaping the benefits of that instruction.
“I kind of had an idea before the break, but it definitely comes as a shock.” “Not only, for me, is Kyle’s play dictating how we go and the pace we play with, but it’s his leadership. But we have a lot of guys in that room and it’s another opportunity for somebody to step up. You have to deal with injuries throughout the year, but unfortunately, this is a tough one for us.”
-Islanders Head Coach Jack Capuano, New York Post
Ryan Strome (8 goals, 33 points) or Nikolay Kulemin (11 goals, 20 points) could be options for replacing Tavares on the top line as the Islanders prepare to begin the second half.
The team will face adversity for really the first time this season as they begin the second half vying for a top playoff spot against the Rangers on Tuesday.
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Quote courtesy of New York Post. Stats and bios courtesy of NHL.com, NewYorkIslanders.com, and Stats.HockeyAnalysis.com