The New York Islanders got more bad news on the injury front Tuesday when Newsday reported that forward Kyle Okposo will require shoulder surgery and is out indefinitely. Published reports have indicated that Okposo will miss approximately two months of action.
The 22-year-old St. Paul native was third on the Islanders last season with 19 goals and second with 52 points. The Isles were counting on their 2006 first round pick (seventh overall) to provide significant offensive for the team this season and beyond.
The news about Okposo comes on the heels of the loss of top defenseman Mark Streit for six months. Streit suffered the injury on a freak play during the third period of Saturday’s team scrimmage.
While Okposo will miss less time than Streit, the Islanders have less depth at forward to compensate for his loss. The Islanders tied for 20th in the league in scoring last season but did not bring in any significant free agents to bolster their corps of scoring forwards. The team re-signed Jon Sim and brought back Andy Hilbert, but neither of them can approach the offensive production Okposo was expected to provide. It is likely that players such as Nino Niederreiter, Matt Martin or Jesse Joensuu will be counted on to fill in for Okposo.
Perhaps even more damaging for the Isles is how this injury may hamper Okposo’s continued development this season. Along with John Tavares, Okposo is being counted on to be a fundamental building block for the franchise.
The Islanders announced they have signed former Devils defenseman Matt Mottau to a two-year contract.