The Washington Capitals have their hands on the 22nd pick in the upcoming NHL Draft. Is it set in stone that the Caps will utilize that pick? Newsday is reporting that New York Islanders general manager Garth Snow is pondering a trade involving Kyle Okposo in exchange for a first-round pick at the upcoming NHL Draft. Is Okposo a viable trade option involving the Capitals’ first-round pick?
“There’s a lot of different scenarios that could play out,” Snow told Newsday. “There could be a trade where we acquire a first or a second. We prepare the same way for this draft that we have in past drafts, because you just don’t know what’s going to happen.”
The Caps don’t have a second-round pick this weekend, but with Mike Green set to test free agency on July 1, there will be cash freed up. However, there is no way that Washington could obtain Okposo for the long term. Is the Islander the type of player to accept a short-term deal to play on a team that has a great chance of winning the Stanley Cup soon? Some people will argue that the Islanders fit that cup-winning description. I’m not one of them.
Okposo, 27, is a quality right wing with seven full NHL seasons to his name. His best season was 2013-14 when he tallied 27 goals and 42 assists; his NHL regular seasons totals are 117 goals, 188 assists and 305 points from 450 games.
Okposo’s Postseason Experience
The one thing Okposo does not have on his resume is an extensive postseason record – he plays for the Islanders after all. However, he certainly wasn’t bad in his team’s first round playoff series against the Capitals, and I am certain he’d perform well in the postseason if on the right team.
Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan wants a top-six forward and the organization (under different management) has signed such players to short-term deals in the past. The Caps could easily find room for Okposo given that current first line right-winger Joel Ward (UFA) is unlikely to remain in Washington after July 1.
— NHL (@NHL) June 21, 2015
Other teams, including the Detroit Red Wings, may wish to trade their first-round pick for the talented winger, but I think he’d fit in better with the Capitals current setup. The Capitals’ head coach Barry Trotz has a ‘shoot first’ mentality that he projects on to his forwards and even his defensemen (if the need arises). Okposo fits the bill.
The huge question is whether the Capitals want to hang onto their 22nd pick. If they don’t then Okposo is an option, along with Patrick Sharp, T.J, Oshie and a few others. An Okposo long-term deal worth the $5 to $7 million a year he’s worth? Unlikely – unless the Caps throw a whole lot more into the pot.
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