Chicago Blackhawks Trade Rumors: Kyle Okposo Available

By Chris Schubert

The New York Islanders may be looking to trade winger Kyle Okposo, according to Newsday. Okposo is entering the final year of his five year, $14 million contract and missed 22 games this season after needing emergency surgery on a detached retina.  The 27-year-old finished the 2014-15 campaign with 18 goals and 33 assists.

General manager Garth Snow made it clear that there are a number of different scenarios that can play out when it comes to trade at the draft. Newsday also added that according to their sources, no deal including Okposo is close.  Where do the Chicago Blackhawks fit in all of this?

The Hawks’ are under a cap crunch once again and need to make some adjustments to the roster. With re-signing Brandon Saad being the top priority, some money needs to be cut in order to keep Saad in the Indian sweater for the near future. That roster causality appears to be Patrick Sharp, who is owed $5.9 million over the next two seasons.

A report has surfaced saying that a Sharp trade is close, and could happen as soon as next week. With Sharp on the way out, the Hawks are going to need to replace Sharp’s spot of the roster. Sharp played on the first line towards the tail end of the Stanley Cup run this season, and has been a staple of the top six for most of his career. Finding somebody to replace a guy who had 34 goals and 44 assists just two seasons ago won’t be easy. And that person will also have to clock in under $6 million dollars. That is where Kyle Okposo fits in.

Okposo has a cap hit of $2.8 million for next season, and then is a free agent after that. A move for Okposo would give the Hawks’ around $3.1 million more in cap to spend, a suitable replacement for Okposo, and they won’t be committed to somebody long term if one of the kids is ready soon. From the Islanders perspective, Sharp represents a veteran presence for a team that doesn’t have a lot of experience. He has one three cups, still has some gas left in the tank and would be a perfect linemate for John Tavares, who has been starving for somebody to help him out.

Now one wrench in the plan could be that the Islanders don’t pick until the 3rd round, and both of these teams are looking to acquire first round draft picks. Another wrench could be Sharp’s salary, and it would be hard for the Hawks’ to eat any of it in a deal. With the salary cap at $71 million, the Islanders clock in at $54 million at the moment with no massive names to re-sign, so taking on Sharp’s contract wouldn’t cripple the team financially. The Hawks’ seem very eager to move Sharp, needing the cap space to figure out how to re-sign some key players. The Islanders know that they are close to being very good and a Patrick Sharp would be a great piece to add.  These two teams might be able to come together and matchup for a swap of top-six forwards.