Kyle Okposo has all the tools you want in a top-six winger. He's an exceptional skater, is a sneaky good playmaker, possesses a fantastic one-timer and of course has a very serious scoring touch.
What I'm trying to say here is that Okposo is a very good hockey player.
The 28-year-old unrestricted free agent is coming off of a five-year, $14 million ($2.8 mil AAV) deal he signed back in 2011.
Okposo lit the lamp 22 times and added 42 helpers in 69 games with the New York Islanders during the 2015-16 regular season. Seven of his 22 tallies came on the man advantage as he averaged 2:58 of power play time per game. His best season came in 2013-14 when he scored 27 goals and helped on 42 others in just 71 games. In total, Okposo has 139 goals and 230 assists (369) in 529 games with the Isles.
The Minnesota native posted a 51.2 percent 5-on-5 Corsi For percentage in his 90 games played in 2015-16 to go along with a shooting percentage of 6.6 percent (183 shots on net).
Here is a shot location chart for Okposo:
There is not a lot of dark red there, but there are plenty of red and grey dots you like to see and in the right spot on the ice in the slot. He certainly isn't afraid to go to the net.
Okposo didn't put up his season numbers alongside average centermen all season. Okposo played 492:37 with John Tavares during 5-on-5 play and to no surprise the duo was good together. The two of them combined for a shooting percentage of 9.38 percent, a Corsi For percentage of 52.1 percent while holding a 60.0 goals for percentage during 5-on-5 action. With Tavares manning the middle, Okposo was deployed on the left which shows he can indeed play on both wings.
The majority of Okposo's ice time came on the right side of Frans Nielsen as the two played 618:41 together at even strength. While their combined shooting percentage wasn't as strong as the Okposo-Tavares duo (7.89%), their combined Corsi For percentage was a touch higher at 52.4 percent.
It's interesting to note that 34.4 percent of Okposo's and Nielsen's face offs came in the defensive zone while the Tavares and Okposo duo's defensive zone face offs came just 21.9 percent of the time.
Okposo also had 66 giveaways and forced 49 takeaways during all situations through his 90 game campaign.
Where Would He Fit?
Okposo would fit best on the top line with Ryan Johansen, but as a right-winger that would mean James Neal would have to slot to the second-line with either Mike Fisher or Mike Ribeiro serving as his center.
With that being said, if you did throw him on the wing of Ribeiro then that puts a speedster that isn't scared to go to the dirty areas - opposite of Ribeiro's style - on that line.
What makes the most sense would be to deploy Okposo on the left-wing on either the first or second-line.
Adding Okposo to the mix certainly adds some wrinkles to the top six, but the kind of wrinkles you like to see. Like the wrinkles you see on a shirt you see models wear on the beach in magazines that them and only them can pull off.
What the top-nine could look like with Okposo in a Nashville sweater:
Kyle Okposo/Filip Forsberg - Ryan Johansen - James Neal
Filip Forsberg/Kyle Okposo - Mike Ribeiro/Mike Fisher - Craig Smith/Kyle Okposo
Colin Wilson/Calle Jarnkrok - Mike Fisher/Calle Jarnkrok - Viktor Arvidsson
Yeah, that's a lot of slashes in between names.
Does It Make Sense?
That's actually a pretty tough question when you think about it.
It makes sense because adding Okposo would do nothing but help the Predators both on paper and on the ice, but it also doesn't make sense in the fact that adding him changes a lot in the top-six.
Yes, we all know that the Predators have not won a Stanley Cup and adding Okposo could certainly help the cause but let's also not forget that the Preds have only had half of a season with Johansen manning the top line and the right-wing spot with Neal and Smith isn't too bad to say the least.
With that being said, Okposo is an upgrade over both Wilson and Smith everyday of the week and adds to Nashville's top-six so the answer to whether or not this idea makes sense: yes, and definitely if he plays on the left side.
If adding Okposo does one thing it gives the Predators three extremely legitimate lines either pushing the inconsistent Wilson to the third-line as a left-wing or giving them unbelievable depth on the right side.
The fun part about all of this is that the Predators should have the money to afford Okposo, but the Isles are in the same boat as they have just under $13.25 million in cap-space at the time while the Preds have just under $12.1 million to spend. Both clubs have important decision to make this summer, so like the rest of the hockey world keep an eye on this situation.