Buffalo Sabres GM Tim Murray didn't let disappointment from the end of Stamkosmania have any carryover into the start of Free Agency, as the Sabres were quick on the draw following the noon start of the free agent rush.
Buffalo reeled in the name at the top of many experts' lists of available players with today's announced signing of former Islanders winger Kyle Okposo to a 7-year, $42 million deal ($6 million AAV). The twenty-eight year old right winger is coming off his third twenty plus goal season, a season that saw him seeing more second line minutes as opposed to benefiting from the strong playmaking skills of Isles captain John Tavares.
Pros - Although the Sabres top six for next season is still in flux, Okposo is a strong finisher who would fit in well alongside whatever center he ended up with. At 217 pounds, Okposo is strong on the puck, and able to win physical battles for contested spots on the ice. Whether it's in the corners or in front of the net, he's not shy about getting his nose dirty to make a play.
Okposo is also in possession of a lethally accurate shot. In comparison to another recent Sabres acquisition, Evander Kane, Okposo had two more goals last season while also taking 70 less shots (10.9% of KO's shots tickled the twine, as opposed to 7.4% of Kane's). This accuracy also translates well to a powerplay unit he's likely to be featured on, where he had 7 powerplay goals, and 16 powerplay assists last season.
Cons - For someone who possesses all the talent that he has, a feeling throughout the league is that he's never really lived up to his potential. While the best may still be yet to come, as the years go on, fans may begin to wonder if he's reached his ceiling as a second line winger who's good for 20 goals a year, or if he can actually produce longterm at a top line level.
His defensive awareness isn't as sharp as it is in the offensive end, as he's been a minus player in all his seasons with the Islanders, except the lockout shortened year.
Durability is a concern over the course of an 82 game season, as he tends to miss games towards the end of the year (he's never played a full 82 games).
Below is a chart comparing Okposo to other early day one signings Andrew Ladd and Milan Lucic (thanks to @RK_Stimp for the awesome graph.)