Where Does Okposo Belong?

Kyle Okposo spent a considerable amount of time on the Isles top unit last season alongside of John Tavares and Matt Moulson. Despite a very slow start that saw him sit in the press-box as a healthy scratch for multiple games, Okposo managed to reach the 20-goal plateau for the first time in his career with a total of 24 on the year (Photo Credit: bridgetds/Flickr).

Okposo started this season with the same line-mates mentioned above but only scored three points in eight games and appeared to be struggling to keep up with his offensive counterparts. So last night head coach Jack Capuano shifted him back to the second line with Frans Nielsen and Michael Grabner, two players that found chemistry with Okposo for the majority of last year.

Last night was the ninth game of the season, and Okposo was able to find the score sheet again for an assist on Grabner's fifth goal of the year, taking the team lead in goals away from Tavares, Moulson and Keith Aucoin.

It has clearly been a very slow start for the rugged power forward, which is starting to become an alarming trend. The Isles cannot afford to have one of their former 20-goal scorers struggling to find the back of the net or help his line-mates in a season that is shortened to only 48 games.

Boyes quickly looked like he fit in with Tavares and Moulson last night, despite the 4-2 loss to the Penguins. Therefore, it seems safe to say that he belongs where Capuano has put him. Okposo was also able to find Grabner in front of the net after having his shot, and then his pass, initially blocked by a Pens defenseman as well.

Sometimes a minor adjustment to the roster is all that is needed to help get a player going.

The Isles now have a record of 4-4-1, a total of nine points that puts them for third place in their division, only one point ahead of the trailing New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers.

This team certainly needs to be firing from all cylinders if they want to make a strong push towards the end of the season. And there's no question that Okposo wil be one of the key contributors that determines the Isles success.

Perhaps playing on the second line will be all he needs to maintain a good pace going forward. If not, the Isles will have a healthy Josh Bailey that will possibly be returning to the line-up by the end of the week. And you can certainly bet that he will be looking to make an impact right away after missing the start of the season.

-Rob McGowan
F

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