2004-05: Okposo played his final season with Shattuck St. Mary’s prep team and finished the season with 47 goals and 45 assists in 65 games, third in Shattuck scoring behind Pittsburgh Penguins 2005 second round draft pick Michael Gergen and 2006 draft eligible Jonathan Toews. In January Okposo committed to the University of Minnesota.
2005-06: Okposo was the first overall player taken in the USHL Entry Draft in May. Before playing for the Des Moines Buccaneers, Okposo played for Team USA at the U18 Junior World Cup in Slovakia, where he scored 4 goals and 3 assists in 5 games. After 4 goals, 2 assists, and a +6 rating over three games in late November, Okposo was named the Let’s Play Hockey/USHL Offensive Player of the Week.
Team USA called upon Okposo again for the Viking Cup in Camrose, Alberta, in late December and early January. Okposo led all Team USA players in scoring with 3 goals and 7 assists in 6 games as Team USA won the bronze and Okposo was named Tournament MVP. The USHL again named Okposo the Offensive Player of the Week January 9, immediately after his return from the Viking Cup, as Buccaneers right winger scored 4 goals and 4 assists and was a +6 in three games.
Later in January Okposo was named to Team East roster for the USHL All-Star Game, which Okposo played in played in Feb. 8 and was named the Team East Player of the Game. Despite missing a few games to a shoulder injury late in the season, Okposo finished sixth in USHL scoring with 27 goals and 31 assists in 50 games. Okposo led the league with 8 game-winning goals and was second in plus/minus at +28. In recognition of his regular season achievements, Okposo was named the USHL Rookie of the Year, named to the RBK All-USHL First Team, and the USHL All-Rookie Team. In winning the USHL championship over Sioux Falls, Okposo was named the Clark Cup MVP after leading the playoffs in scoring with 5 goals and 11 assists in 11 games. After the season, Okposo was invited to the NHL Draft Combine.
2006-07: Okposo collected 19 goals, 21 assists for 40 points and picked up 28 penalty minutes in 40 games played for the University of Minnesota.For his efforts last season with the Golden Gophers, Okposo was named the team’s Rookie of the Year. He also represented Team USA at the World Junior Championships.
Read HF’s interview with Kyle Okposo.
2007-08: Okposo made his NHL debut on March 18 vs. Toronto and continued with the team, playing the final nine games of the season with the Islanders. He recorded five points (2+3) and scored his first NHL goal, a game-winner scored on Brodeur, on March 21 at New Jersey. He also recorded his first NHL point, an assist, in the same game. Prior to the pro action, he played in 18 games with the University of Minnesota (WCHA) before leaving for the World Junior Championships.
Okposo is a strong player who uses his body and his stickhandling to win battles in the corner and along the boards. Rarely does Okposo lose a one-on-one battle along the boards. Okposo’s stickhandling and his offensive awareness also help him win a lot of open-ice battles, and his ability maintain posession of the puck is second to none.
From a pure skills standpoint, Okposo has deceptive speed, but his skating still needs more polishing. His stick skills are high end. Not only is his stickhandling excellent, he has an excellent shot, whichever shot he takes, and can roof all of them from in close if needed. Most of Okposo’s goals are scored crashing the net with the puck and fighting through checks.
Okposo has the defensive awareness to be a regular on the penalty kill, and also uses his power to throw out a big check. Still, his greatest strength is as a highly talented offensive player and a responsible player defensively second.