Vancouver Canucks Free Agency: Top 5 Right Wingers to Target

Feb 25, 2016; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; New York Islanders right wing Kyle Okposo (21) skates during the warmup period against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 25, 2016; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; New York Islanders right wing Kyle Okposo (21) skates during the warmup period against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mar 19, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; New York Islanders right wing Kyle Okposo (21) skates with the puck against the Dallas Stars in the third period at American Airlines Center. Dallas won 3-0. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports /

No. 1: Kyle Okposo

Whatever the true reason is, the New York Islanders seem open to letting top right winger Kyle Okposo walk away. Frans Nielsen, Matt Martin, Casey Cizikas, Ryan Strome, Chris Gibson, and J-F Berube are all becoming free agents for the Islanders, but I am quite surprised that they are allowing Okposo to walk.

After a terrific season to the right of none other than John Tavares, Okposo is the biggest asset out there in free agency. But is he worth it?

Height / Weight: 6-foot-0, 217 lbs
Age: 28
2015-16 Stats: 82 GP — 22 Goals — 42 Assists — 64 Points
2015-16 Salary: $4.5 million
Expected UFA Salary: $7.0 million

Okposo is the solution the Canucks have been looking for. He is a superb sniper who is able to play a strong game regardless of the situation. He has great skating and the power forward’s drive to the net.

More from The Canuck Way

Those are the perfect characteristics to have if you are the right winger for the Sedins, are they not?

Those traits remind me of Vancouver-native left winger Milan Lucic. Lucic is a left winger, and that would be the one big issue that would keep him off the Sedin line should he sign with the Canucks. Now, imagine Okposo as the Lucic who can play to the Sedins’ right, with potentially more scoring upside.

That is big-time money for me. Let me get on the Okposo bandwagon, please.

On the other hand, here is what The Hockey News had to say about Okposo’s weaknesses. This seems like a pretty good problem to have and something that sounds like what Willie Desjardins is good at doing:

"Doesn’t know how good he can be, which can be frustrating for his coaches."

There are other things there, too. But really? His only offensive weakness is not knowing how good he is? That sounds pretty good to me. Here are the rest of his “deficiencies”.

"Tends to wear down over the course of an 82-game schedule, so durability is a concern. His defensive game is only average."

The one concern I have with this seemingly inflated price tag on Okposo is the fact that he has had Tavares as his centerman. The Canucks would not mind a strong winger who can score while playing with the Sedins.

In fact, Okposo might be the best option to play with the Sedins. Think about it — should Jannik Hansen falter with the Sedins this coming October as Radim Vrbata did with his second season, the Canucks are pretty much done for.

Proposed Line
D. Sedin – H. Sedin – K. Okposo

That line should bring trouble to the opponent night in, night out. The Canucks, if they are able to land this physical sniper who isn’t scared to get to the tough areas, they will be good for the long term.

And as Okposo is still just 28, the Canucks might not mind signing him to a six-year deal worth something close to $42 million in total. Again, I trust that Jim Benning has the scouting on Okposo after years in the East.

Next: Free Agent Friday: TOP 5 LW's to TARGET

With big names out there for the Canucks to take, it would be certainly disappointing for the Canucks to stand pat at free agency. GM Jim Benning has promised to spend, and one can only hope that “spending” equates to overpaying an Eriksson or an Okposo and not overpaying a bottom-six player.

At this point, I take faith in the Jim Benning who dished out big cash for Ryan Miller and Radim Vrbata. May Kyle Okposo be a Canuck in two months.