Kyle Okposo is America’s Second Best Ice Hockey Player

okposo eagle america thanks obamaMost American Photoshop Credit: Vinny Piccolo

Kevin Schultz

When USA Hockey chooses their team for the Sochi Games on January 1 — a made for TV spectacle following the Winter Classic, no less — will they choose to leave their second best player at home?

Yes, I said they might not select the second best American Hockey Player born in the United States of America.

No one can argue with Patrick Kane being the Best Active American Ice Hockey player. He acts like Number One off the ice, drinking and partying his way through the off-season like a good American youth. Then, he comes up aces during the season. Currently, he is second in the NHL in points behind Canada’s Best Export Since Celine Dion, a.k.a. Sidney Crosby.

By process of elimination, America’s Second Best Hockey Player is currently Kyle Okposo of the New York Hockey Islanders. 

How do I know this? I looked up his statistics on Extra Skater and it says that he has more points than any American other than Kane and Phil Kessel. And Kessel doesn’t count because he plays in Canada for the Maple Leafs (*cough* traitor *cough*).

If that’s not enough, Okposo must be doing something right, as he has outspoken Yahoo! writer Ryan Lambert on his side. That, in itself, is quite a feat.

So what’s the knock on Okposo? Well there are a few understandable but inaccurate arguments.

“Kyle Okposo plays on a bad team, therefore he is a bad player.” Well, last year there were three Hart Trophy nominees for best player in the league: Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin and John Tavares. Two of those players are/were on bad teams. Heck, all three came from the Eastern Conference, which is a Conference filled with bad teams.

“Kyle Okposo’s career body of work is not good enough.” Sorry, the Olympics are not the same as the Hall of Fame. One is about winning as many games as you can in February 2014 and the other is about a body of work over the course of a career.

While there may have been question marks about Okposo previously, the best course of action is to take the hot player when they are hot because the Olympics are about winning now. Not hypothetically winning if a player has had a great career. Remember Nagano in 1998, when America sent a bunch of over-the-hill players who had great careers? Yeah, that was a mess (literally a mess; they trashed their hotel rooms after crashing out of the tournament). It’s about winning now with players that are currently healthy and are currently playing well. Mr. Okposo is both healthy and playing well.

“Kyle Okposo is a product of John Tavares.” Okposo had 20 points in 48 games last year, playing most of the season on John Tavares’ wing. This year, he has 37 in 40 playing most of the season on John Tavares’ wing. Sorry, no.

For goodness sakes, LOOKIT THIS:

In conclusion, Kyle Okposo is America. He can ride bald eagles and score hockey points, which are both requirements for selection to the US Olympic Ice Hockey Team. Therefore, Kyle Okposo should be on a plane to Russia in about two months time and not because he outed a government spying agency.


For serious arguments for Okposo, please click here. 




58 comments
Raahim Ahmed
Raahim Ahmed

lol this guy fed off tavares all season :P

Adam Wessinger
Adam Wessinger

Either half the people who regularly visit this site have all of a sudden become incredibly dumb, or way too many Ranger fans have decided to post because they saw this on their Facebook feed.  THIS ARTICLE IS MEANT AS A JOKE.  He is not suggesting that KO is actually the 2nd best American.  He is just trying to make the point that KO deserves to be on Team USA for many reasons, one of the best being that he is 2nd in scoring amongst Americans.  I mean, come on people, there is a picture of Okposo riding a freakin' bald eagle.  Let's get real.

Just a couple of responses to posts I saw:

1.  Someone mentioned Oshie.  Oshie is not better than KO.  In fact I would say they are pretty equal.  They seem to play a similar game and have similar career stats.

2.  Someone said McDonough.  Come on Ranger fans.  The kid is having a good season, but Okposo is the better player.

3.  Did someone actually suggest that Seth Jones is the second best American?  Seth Jones is barely in the top 20. But hey, if you want to annoint the kid because he was a top pick, go ahead.  I am sure Alexander Daigle is your favorite player.

4. I really don't know why KO gets this reputation as a guy who has always been a let down.  The fact is, he has frequently become the fan's whipping boy for no good reason. His rookie year he lead the team with 18 goals (in only 65 games) and was second in points,  outscoring our first line veteran's Doug Weight and Bill Guerin.  His second year he was third in goals (19) and second in points behind Tavares (52 points to JT's 54, in two less games).  Injured in 2010-11, still put up a respectable 20 points in 38 games. In 2011, he scored 24 goals, 3rd on the team.  Last year, was a down year for goals (4) and he had 24 points in 48 games.  BUT, anybody watching the Islanders knows that he was the best player on the team over the last month of the season and was the best player on either team in the playoff series.  Now he is top 20 in scoring in the entire NHL at the halfway point of the year.  AND HE IS ONLY 25.  I don't know what people expect from him, but he has always given his all and has really built himsef into an all-around player. 

jpizzy
jpizzy

I still don't think Okposo makes the team. He should be there, but I think playing for the Islanders will hurt him and the powers that be won't be able to look past that. 

truth77
truth77

@shlo  Remember the day like yesterday when our Amateurs beat some of the Soviet Unions Elite Pro Players ever assembled.The Greatest Sports Feat that has ever been accomplished.That and Joe ds hitting streak are mind blowing.

truth77
truth77

@Macacawitz  I agree with the Seth Jones analogy wow!imagine having him on the blue line for the next 15 years!Love this kid Reinhardt coming out hopefully if we dont make the playoffs we get him.Has the soft hands like his Dad

truth77
truth77

Kyle Okposo worked his butt off this summer to be a better Hockey Player.I give this guy all the respect in the World he knew his flaws and worked on them. This is the product of dedication  that you see .If management worked so hard  and as dedicated as Kyle this summer we would be in the playoffs.

Matt Cocalas
Matt Cocalas

Pominville, Kane, Parise, Gionta, Kesler, Byfuglien, Dubinsky, Callahan, Kessel, Pacioretty, Stepan, Ballard and even Ryan Miller are all better players.

I'm an Islanders fan, but I don't drink Kool-Aid.

Macacawitz
Macacawitz

Okposo is playing well, and should be credited for that.  Calling him the 2nd best American in the league is borderline psychotic.   I'm partial to the project called Seth Jones.

dgputney
dgputney

If Kyle is number 2

the United States olympic team

is in a lot of trouble

shlo
shlo

Little late to respond. I am old enough to remember that the Olympics game meant to be for Amateurs and not  professionals. They moved away from the "noble" idea. Don't want to give history lessons here . just saying......Leave the Olympics to the amateurs and keep the world championships to the pros.  So I will not get carried away by if he is or isn't.

Mike Legra
Mike Legra

what's wrong with Wheeler? he's got 31 points this year, 9 on the PP

Patrick Martello
Patrick Martello

Either way its an abomination that you would say hes a better player

Mike Legra
Mike Legra

Patrick Martello we're talking about Blake Wheeler, not Mike Wheeler

Mike Legra
Mike Legra

does anyone here really believe that KO is the second best active American player?? and don't get me wrong...I love the guy this year and agree 100% that he should be on the team

Mitchell Baram
Mitchell Baram

I kinda figured that he would be on the team This year

Craig
Craig

Have to say I was not a big KO fan until playoffs last season when he decided to turn on beast mode and show us what hes got. He has come back even stronger and more determined then ever he deserves a spot.

slapshot18_rs
slapshot18_rs

okposo is an absolute beast right now.  it will only hurt team usa if he is not selected. 

Mike Legra
Mike Legra

Okposo deserves to be on Team USA. With that being said, he's not even close to being the second best American player. Kane, Parise, Kesler, Ryan, Stepan, Wheeler, and Byfuglien are all better players, despite having fewer points this year.

Jason Zimmermann
Jason Zimmermann

@Adam Wessinger Okposo is not a better player than McDonaugh.  I hate the Rangers, but I also know what I'm looking at. McDonaugh's been solid since he went to the Rangers and it takes longer for defensemen to adapt to the game.

Kevin Schultz
Kevin Schultz Editor Emeritus

@Adam Wessinger  


THIS:


"He is not suggesting that KO is actually the 2nd best American.  He is just trying to make the point that KO deserves to be on Team USA for many reasons, one of the best being that he is 2nd in scoring amongst Americans.  I mean, come on people, there is a picture of Okposo riding a freakin' bald eagle.  Let's get real."

slapshot18_rs
slapshot18_rs

@Jeff Roland yeah you're right, the middle of last season KO was like, well the olympics are next year so i might as well start playing 



Jason Zimmermann
Jason Zimmermann

@Jeff Roland I couldn't agree more. I hate the NHL in the Olympics. Everything that was once special about it is gone.

Adam Wessinger
Adam Wessinger

@Matt Cocalas Come on, have a little more faith in your own guy.  Pominville, Gionta, Dubinsky, Pacioretty, and Ballard? No way.  Stepan might get there but not yet.  KO has caught up to Callahan and is now passing him.  Don't get me wrong, I have liked Callahan as a player, but he gets a little overrated because he is the Ranger's captain (and he gets a pass).  In his career, KO only has 20 less points than Callahan in 70 less games.

Jason Zimmermann
Jason Zimmermann

@Matt Cocalas There are definitely several better U.S. born players. I was looking for the fine print when I read "Second best American player" - Yes, Kessel is ahead of Okposo, and so are SEVERAL others; David Backes, TJ Oshie, and several other non-Blues, including Ryan Suter.

Jason Zimmermann
Jason Zimmermann

McDonagh, too. 2nd best is WAY overboard when assessing Kyle Okposo.


Yes, Okposo has nice numbers, he's hustling, but he's still not the smartest hockey player.

Jason Zimmermann
Jason Zimmermann

@Macacawitz I'm trying to think of who else on the Islanders is American. Because there's no way IPB could be calling Okposo the 2nd best American in the world.

shlo
shlo

@Macacawitz Well,  Seth Jones is not a forward.


We have to compare him to right wing players or a just to forwards.

slapshot18_rs
slapshot18_rs

i am going to give you the benefit of the doubt and say you did not just use a fantasy hockey player comparison to determine who was the better player.


but i think you did, ayyyyyy 

John Falcone
John Falcone

KO is having a great year, despite being on a team with little defense and goaltending issues.  Put him on a team that's stronger in defense, which all of the aforementioned players have in common, and he would be even better.  KO is also a -4 on a team that is -33, look at Crosby who is a +11 on a team that is a +36 or Kane who is a +11 on a team that's +42.  KO's numbers are better (I'm not saying that he is anywhere near Crosby or Kane, but he is pretty strong in both zones).

KO should be on the team regardless - solid winger, strong on the puck and can put it in the net.   

anthony vallone
anthony vallone

I don't know how you're throwing Byfuglien in there.  If you think Big Buff is better than KO then you think all 6 defense men that will be starting over Buff are better than him too.  Suter, Shattenkirk, McDonough to name a few

slapshot18_rs
slapshot18_rs

throwing a defenseman in for comparison makes no sense, and half of them are not better. top 3-4 maybe but hes right in there with all of them, besides kane. 

grand_puba
grand_puba

I mostly agree with this as well, but I definitely see him more a part of that list and as all those guys being debatable number 2, 3, 4, 5. He's playing a real solid brand of hockey right now.

Brian Darmstadt
Brian Darmstadt

I mostly agree with this, but I feel Okposo is a better choice than Stepan.

slapshot18_rs
slapshot18_rs

@Jason Zimmermann @Adam Wessinger what? not even close, and i have watched oshie a ton this year.  okposo is on a different level this year.  maybe in years past you could make that argument, but it would be silly to say oshie is considerably better this year.  

Jason Zimmermann
Jason Zimmermann

@Adam Wessinger @Matt Cocalas It's not for lack of faith. It's objectivity. Okposo leaves a lot to be desired in the Hockey Sense department, though, he is gettign better. No doubt, he's having his best season, and I hope he continues to improve, but he's got some ways to go.

Macacawitz
Macacawitz

@shlo @Macacawitz No, the headline specifically says - if you care to go back and read it - "Kyle Okposo is America's 2nd best ice hockey player."  If we're talking forwards only, I'd trade him in a nanosecond for either Parise or Kessel.

shlo
shlo

@Macacawitz  You have a point there. Seth Jones has a much bigger upside than Okposo will  ever have, I just don't see him up there yet.. The article does not refer to any defenseman. It hints that the point production is how they measure it.

Seth Jones should be on the team   because he is an excellent D man. Parise and Kessel have a better history and production nobody is disputing it. So give Okposo the 4th spot, it  makes no difference to me.