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There is nothing like fantastic news after the first blazing hot day of the summer.

It’s been a slow few weeks in Islanders country, although – not in terms of talks with Nassau County on that whole new Arena business. The Islanders however, have announced today that they have agreed to terms with Kyle Okposo on a five-year contract.

Per the Islanders press release:

The New York Islanders announced today that forward Kyle Okposo has agreed to terms on a five-year contract.

“I’m very excited to commit to the Islanders for the next five years, especially with the news of the new Coliseum,” Okposo said. “This team really showed its potential in the second half of the season last year and I’m excited to be a part of getting the franchise back to the playoffs.”

Okposo, 23, scored five goals with 15 assists in 38 games for the Islanders last season. The St. Paul, MN, native missed the first 44 games of 2010-11 due to a shoulder injury, which he suffered during training camp.
“Kyle has been a critical part of our young core over the past few seasons,” said Islanders General Manager Garth Snow. “He is a high character guy that brings size and a scoring touch to our lineup.”

The Islanders selected Okposo in the first round, seventh overall, of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft. He has served as an assistant captain since 2009-10. In 192 career NHL games, all with the Islanders, Okposo has scored 116 points (44 goals, 72 assists).

The 6’0”, 210-pound forward has also played in 35 American Hockey League games with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, and he’s represented the United States at two World Championships and two World Junior Championships.

Before beginning his professional career, Okposo spent one season in the United States Hockey League with the Des Moines Buccaneers, followed by two collegiate years at the University of Minnesota.

Now that Okposo is in the fold for the next while, Garth can look to some of the other players who are also restricted free agents and deserve some longevity as well.

Kyle didn’t really show us what he could do to the fullest potential this past season – due to his shoulder injury in camp and I was personally disappointed. He is one of those players who may not always wind up on the score sheet, but is ALWAYS in position defensively and makes those important offensive plays as well. He’s not afraid to hit and has shown he has that razzle dazzle with the puck on his stick.

The Islanders certainly solidified themselves for the long term with this contract, as they did with Michael Grabner’s contract a few weeks back.