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Okposo Bolts

Radio station KFAN in Minneapolis has been reporting today that Minnesota sophomore Kyle Okposo will be leaving Minnesota, and joining the New York Islanders after the World Junior tournament.

Obviously a tough loss for the Gophers. Minnesota fans were hoping to get a boost to their lineup after the World Juniors with Mike Carman returning to the lineup, but instead, Carman's return, at best, cancels out the loss of Okposo.

TSN commentator/hockey journalism god Bob McKenzie gave a little explanation on Okposo's departure on the USCHO message board:

"Fairly basic explanation. The kid wanted to turn pro, and probably should have turned pro, in the summer. He saw E.J. in St. Louis and Toews in Chicago and it's my understanding he thought that's where he should be, that's where his heart was. For whatever reason, he didn't go. I don't know if the Islanders thought it was better for him to stay another year or what, but something made him stay.

His relatively poor play this season, I think, had both the kid and the Islanders concerned about his development. Not sure whether his heart wasn't in it at Minnesota but the kid obviously isn't playing up to his own standards. I am sure the Isles were pushing for this move and by all accounts they didn't have to push too hard.

Now, when he returns from the WJC, he could end up in one or more of three places. If the Isles choose to, they can give him a shot on the big club. If not, or after a trial period, they can send him to the AHL or to the WHL with Everett. I suppose those determinations will be made once they see how he fares at the WJC and they will go from there.

I probably don't have that much more insight than anyone else other than the fact that the kid apparently really wanted to turn pro in the summer, but opted not to for some reason."
My understanding of why he didn't go pro over the summer is that the Islanders didn't think he was ready and weren't that interested in signing him.