NYI FUTURE WATCH: KYLE OKPOSO
By Jason Lockhart
Kyle Okposo grew up in America's hockey hotbed of Minnesota, so it's no surprise he took to the ice when he was little. For nearly 15 years hockey has been one of the constants in his life.
Now 18, and an Islanders first-round draft pick, Okposo is ready to take the next step towards making the NHL. He's currently attending NCAA powerhouse Minnesota playing alongside fellow 2006 first-round Draft pick Erik Johnson (1st). Okposo is hoping to avenge Minnesota's early exit last year in the NCAA Tournament to surprise Holy Cross. Through five games, Okposo's six points places him tied for fifth on the team in scoring and second among freshmen. His four power play goals lead the team.
At the prep school level, Okposo scored 191 points for Shattuck over two seasons. The jump to the junior level didn't slow him down. Okposo finished with 58 points in 50 games in 2005-06, good for second on regular-season champion Des Moines and sixth in the USHL. His +28 rating was second highest in the league.
Okposo had the opportunity to taste the NHL game by participating in the Islanders development camp in July. There he went up against the likes of Chris Campoli, Robert Nilsson and Bruno Gervais. Okposo more than held his own against his NHL-caliber counterparts. In a recent interview, Okposo discussed the following topics.
On his draft day experience:
"Draft Day was really exciting for me. I had the chance to experience it with a lot of friends and family, so that made it more special. When I was picked I was relieved and happy to be chosen by the Islanders."
On his style of play:
"I'd say the strengths of my game are my finishing ability and my strength. I try to mirror my game after Peter Forsberg. He is always playing tough."
On coming to Long Island:
"When I came to development camp it was my first time on Long Island. I really liked it. It was a fun place to hangout. The people were, and it seems like an unbelievable place to play and live. I look forward to getting to know the Island better in the future."
On his first development camp:
"I didn't know what to expect, but it was a lot of fun. I enjoyed the high level of hockey. The guys were all great and were some of the best people I've met. The extra stuff like paintballing was awesome and the Yankees game was exciting as well.
On working with Bryan Trottier and Ted Nolan:
"Bryan and Ted are great guys. I had the opportunity to play under Trots at the 15-and-Under US Selects Team so there is some familiarity there. I've heard good things about Nolan and know about his success.
On his goals for next season:
"I want to improve my whole game. There's nothing you can't continue to work on, and I hope to play as much hockey as possible while at Minnesota.
The Okposo File:
If you could have one superpower what would it be? Flying
Green Day or Eminem? Eminem
Favorite former Islander: Bryan Trottier
Favorite sport other than hockey: Golf
If you didn't play hockey what profession would you pursue? Golfing
Favorite non-North American city: Paris
Superman or Batman? Superman
Favorite Movie: Man of Fire
Steak or Lobster? Steak
If you could have dinner with two people who would they be? Michael Jordan and Mark Messier.
Favorite TV shows: The OC, Friends, Boy Meets World
What event in history would you most like to have been a part of? Colonizing America.
Position: Right Wing
Born: April 16, 1988 -- St. Paul, MN
Height: 6' 1"
Weight: 195 lbs
Selected by the Islanders in the first round (7th overall) of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft
|Des Moines Buccaneers||USHL||2005-06||50||27||31||58||56||11||5||11||16||8|
|Minnesota Golden Gophers||USCHO||2006-07||5||4||2||6||0|