BREAKING: Kyle Okposo Out 6-8 Weeks

The Islanders were dealt a significant blow on Tuesday afternoon when coach Jack Capunao announced that forward Kyle Okposo would miss the next six to eight weeks with an "upper body" injury.  No one knows for sure what is ailing Okposo, but there were various rumors floating around Twitter of an eye injury that required surgery.  There's no way to know if that is true at this point, but those rumors began several days ago, so it wouldn't be a shock if they were true.

While a six to eight week timeframe would likely keep Okposo out of action anywhere between 20 and 28 games, he would still have at least two weeks to get back into game shape before the playoffs began.  Of course that's if he is back within eight weeks, and without knowing the full details of what is wrong with him, all this is just speculation.  While upset, I think most Islander fans just want to ensure Okposo is 100% by the time playoffs roll around.

It is certainly a blow to lose Okposo for any amount of time, especially with the first line heating up over the past few weeks.  Okposo has been especially hot with seven points in his last three games, including a four-goal effort against Pittsburgh.  However, with forward Mikhail Grabovski set to return to the lineup soon, the Islanders should be able to withstand Okposo's loss at this point.  The team has quality depth up-front and is one of the few teams in the conference that have enough pieces internally to get through a difficult stretch.

If the team does not like what they have internally to fill Okposo's void on the top line next to John Tavares, they could potentially look to add someone via trade.  If they do it would be surprising if they added a "top-six" winger as those players won't come cheap and despite having a well-stocked farm system, it would be very un-Garth Snow-like to see the team deal away significant pieces for a short term fix.  They also lack their first or second round draft pick this year due to previous trades, so unless the cost for a player was a mid-round pick and/or a middling prospect, expect the Islanders to steer clear of the high-price players and maybe dip their toe in the bargain bin instead.

The more pressing issue will be who will join Tavares on Josh Bailey on the top line.  It probably makes sense to go with someone who shoots more in that spot, so perhaps Brock Nelson or Anders Lee will get the first crack there.  Many fans have been clamoring for Ryan Strome on the top line with previous openings, so perhaps he'll get his shot now (more of a playmaker though).  With games against the Rangers, Bruins, and Red Wings on the horizon, the line experimenting will be under fire, that's for sure.

Anytime you lose a top-line forward who has tallied 44 points in 46 games, it's a loss.  But with the team playing solid hockey and sitting atop the Metropolitan Division (31-14-1, 63 points) and getting contributions all season from everyone on the roster, it is at least a little more comforting knowing they have the ability to handle this adversity.

Be sure to follow me on Twitter @mikepac23 for my Islander thoughts and follow @TCLIsles for Islander news and analysis.