By Budd Bailey, Buffalo Sports Page Columnist

Kyle Okposo – Signed by the Sabres in 2016

Kyle Okposo has had a respectable career in the National Hockey League. Still, he is one of those cases when it’s easy to wonder about what might have been.

Okposo was the sixth overall draft pick by the Islanders in 2006. He played a few games in the NHL for New York in 2007-08, and became a regular the next season. The right winger had a nice scoring touch and a willingness to bump opponents.  He had 64 points in 2015-16, and was considered a prime free agent in the summer of 2016.

The Sabres, anxious to regain credibility after cratering in 2014-15, signed Okposo to a seven-year deal worth $42 million. He fell to 45 points in a shortened season caused by a concussion that sent him to the intensive care unit of a hospital. Okposo has had some tough times in Buffalo, but he’s still playing at the age of 31. The forward reached 800 points and 500 games for his career during the 2019-20 season.

Okposo’s stay in Buffalo hasn’t gone as planned because of injuries, but he’s shown himself to be a class act during his time here. It’s easy to root for him at this stage of his career.

Here’s a look back at Kyle at the All-Star Game:

(Follow Budd on Twitter @WDX2BB)

Budd Bailey

Budd Bailey has been involved in almost every aspect of the local sports scene for the last 40 years. He worked for WEBR Radio, the Buffalo Sabres' public relations department and The Buffalo News during that time. In that time he covered virtually every aspect of the area's sports world, from high schools to the Bills and Sabres and everything in between. Along the way, Budd served as a play-by-play announcer for the Bisons, an analyst for the Stallions, and a talk-show host. He won the National Lacrosse League's Tom Borrelli Award as the media personality of the year in 2011, and was a finalist for that same award in 2017. Budd's seventh and eighth books, one on the Transcontinental Railroad and the other about Ichiro Suzuki, are scheduled to be released in the fall.

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