For his 21st birthday, our Islanders Calder nominee Kyle Okposo gets to taste the playoffs after all. The Islanders have assigned him and defenseman Jack Hillen to Bridgeport for the playoffs this weekend against the Wilkes Barre/Scranton(icity) Wee Penguins.
Okposo turns 21 Thursday -- don't stay out too late, kid! -- and played this entire season with the Isles after jumping from college to the AHL to a nine-game trial in the NHL last season.
The Sound Tigers will actually open at Nassau Coliseum Friday and Saturday (due to arena conflicts), which has created a bit of a buzz. Now Long Island fans have one more reason to check out the Tigers on the parent club's soil.
After leaving college mid-season and competing in the World Juniors, Okposo played 35 games with Bridgeport last year, producing 9-19-28. Count me as excited for him to have the chance to really be a team leader and playoff force. Chris Botta says this shouldn't (yet) affect his candidacy for Team USA at the World Championships in Swtizerland.
Hillen, who stepped from college to the Islanders lineup for the last two games of 2007-08, logged 40 games with the big club this year, becoming a regular by mid-season.
It's quite a young crew of future Islanders being assembled in Bridgeport. This is a great opportunity for both young men.
|08-09 - Kyle Okposo||65||18||21||39||-6||36||9||0||3||0||165||10.9|
|08-09 (NHL) - Jack Hillen||40||1||5||6||-9||16||0||0||0||0||47||2.1|