Isles’ rise to be tested as they lose Okposo for 6-8 weeks

17 Comments

The New York Islanders have been one of this season’s top breakout teams, but their resilience will be put to the test as they’ll be without Kyle Okposo for the next six-to-eight weeks due to an upper-body injury, per the team’s Twitter feed.

While John Tavares represented the Islanders’ forwards at the All-Star Game, and did a great job, Okposo has been nearly as good this season. He has 14 goals and 44 points in 46 contests. The timing of his injury is also particularly inopportune given how hot he was prior to the break, scoring five goals and seven points in his last three games.

His absence will put more pressure on the Islanders’ secondary scorers to step up. In particular, they will need more from Mikhail Grabovski. He signed a four-year, $20 million contract with the Islanders over the summer, but has just six goals and 14 points in 38 contests. After missing four straight games, there’s a good chance he’ll be back for Tuesday’s tilt against the New York Rangers.

Based on Monday’s practice lines, it looks like Grabovski will take Okposo’s place on the top line. Grabovski hasn’t played with Tavares much this season and how they mesh now could play a large role in defining how the Islanders will do over the next couple of months.