Buffalo Sabres Sign Captain Kyle Okposo to One-Year Contract

The Buffalo Sabres signed esteemed captain, Kyle Okposo, to a one-year contract worth $2.5 million, the team announced on Wednesday, May 24. The 35-year old workhorse completed his sixteenth NHL season, seven of which were with the Buffalo Sabres. The Minnesota native began his career with the New York Islanders in the 2007-08 season. In 75 games with the Sabres this past season, Okposo scored 11 goals and had 17 assists.

Signing Not a Surprise

Okposo’s return to the team was not altogether unexpected. During his interview on locker clean-out day, Okposo said, “There’s nowhere else that I would want to be.” Although he did say he was going to take some time before making a decision on his future, his desire to stay in Buffalo was clear. Everyone in the organisation, from general manager Kevyn Adams to coach Don Granato, down to the players have expressed their respect and affection for their captain.

Value Is Immeasurable

The Kyle Okposo contract makes sense in more ways than one. Although armchair GMs and other curmudgeons on social media sites have been critical of the signing, such sentiments ignore the value of experience and the importance of strong leadership for a young, inexperienced team. Many people seem to look at Okposo as player past his prime. Yet, he never had the skills of Mark Messier or Connor McDavid to begin with. He lacks the speed of younger players, but speed isn’t everything. Analytics and statistics cannot measure the influence he has on the teammates who are the future of the Buffalo Sabres. His on-ice effort alone is inspiring, and there are no mathematical formulas or algorithms for assessing it. Certainly, his work ethic served as an example not to take any shift off, and the positive influence he has had on Peyton Krebs‘ development speaks for itself.

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