Update 6/17 9:15 am:
Islanders GM Garth Snow conducted an interview with SiriusXM NHL on Friday morning.
When asked about the future of unrestricted free agent Kyle Okposo Snow responded, "We wish him nothing but the best."
Islanders winger Kyle Okposo is "all but certain" to become a free agent, according to Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.
Okposo, 28, was selected seventh overall in the 2006 NHL Draft. He has been with the Islanders since the 2007-08 season. Okposo helped the Islanders advance to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 1993 this season, recording seven points in eight playoff games.
General Manager Garth Snow will have a difficult task this offseason. He has previously emphasized his desire to retain Okposo and fellow restricted free agents in Frans Nielsen and Matt Martin.
It's interesting to know there's at least been a dialogue between Snow and Okposo, but I don't see any reason Kyle would forego free agency. He's 28, and he's a proven 25 goal scorer. It's his time to cash in, and he deserves it.
The Islanders know they need to be better up front than they were last season. While Okposo is a great piece to have, what he did for this team last year (22 goals, 42 assists in 79 games) is exactly the player he is. He's a very good player, but is it someone they absolutely cannot replace, probably at a lower price point? Probably not.
Obviously, John Tavares is very close with Kyle, and watching another one of his friends leave won't be easy for the Isles captain. But I think JT knows New York needs to mix up this group a little bit to get to the next level, and that unfortunately means Okposo will probably be in a different sweater next season.