The Buffalo Sabres extended Tage Thompson and all eyes turn to Rasmus Dahlin and Dylan Cozens. But there is one more player who comes to mind.
It is a given that the Buffalo Sabres will push to re-sign as many young players as they can, assuming they continue to improve from a performance standpoint. Dahlin and Cozens stand out, but we also can’t forget about players like Peyton Krebs and Rasmus Asplund – all four will become restricted free agents in either 2023 or 2024.
But a potential Kyle Okposo contract extension is one nobody is talking about. At least until I read Matthew Fairburn’s mailbag the other day and he touched on the idea. While the Sabres without a doubt want to lock in their younger players for the long haul, do not be surprised if they also re-sign the older, more experienced Okposo.
It is possible the Buffalo Sabres extend Kyle Okposo sometime in 2022-23
We know Okposo is the likeliest team captain this season, allowing him to fork the burden so the younger players can focus on continuing to improve their game. And while Okposo had lackluster 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons, he returned in 2021-22 with 45 points, 21 goals, and 24 assists with a 12.1% shooting percentage.
It is true that Okposo figures to drop to the fourth line to make room for the younger players slated to encroach the roster and expand their roles, but a decent output in such a role will warrant him an extension. However, since he is clearly in the back-end of his career and would be heading into his 17th season if the Sabres were to keep him, expect a smaller contract and fewer years.
He will earn significantly less than his current AAV of $6 million ($4 million paid in 2022-23), and the length would likely be around two seasons. This would keep an experienced puzzle piece and locker room leader like Okposo around to oversee the complete transition in Buffalo.
It also gives the Sabres a solid contributor on the fourth line plus a remarkable mentor for the current and next batch of younger players slated to move up. Further, if there is so much of a logjam that there would be little room for Okposo, he would, at worst, serve the team as an extra skater.
Article Source: Sabres mailbag: Buffalo brings back the goathead jerseys, Thompson and Luukkonen sign, thoughts on playoff hopes by Matthew Fairburn