A big part of Arthur Staple's report about the Islanders exploring the possibility of trading Kyle Okposo hinges upon Okposo's next contract. An unrestricted free agent at the end of next season, Staple says that Okposo could be seeking a contract worth over $7 million per season. Right now, his contract demands aren't known.
Okposo has enjoyed the two best seasons of his career in the last two years. He had 27 goals and 42 assists for 67 points in 2013-14, all career highs, and followed it up with 18 goals, 33 assists and 51 points in an eye injury-shortened last season. After a few years of inconsistency, Okposo started putting things together in the 2013 playoffs and is now one of the Islanders most reliable scorers.
To guess how much dough Okposo could actually rake in next summer, let's look at some comparable players in similar contract years, using War-On-Ice's Similarity Scores by @MannyElk. The list of top 30 matches can be found here, sorted by similarity according to War-On-Ice. In other words, I didn't just pick the names out of a hat.
The comps come with a few caveats. First, they are based on Okposo's 2014-15 season with additional adjustments for zone starts, age and salary, and it assumes that he'll put up similar numbers this season. If he scores 50 goals and wins the Rocket Richard Trophy, all bets are off.
Two, the timelines don't all match up perfectly. Some players signed their next contracts a year after their season that best compares to Okposo's last year. But all were unrestricted free agents.
Finally the raw numbers obviously tell us very little about each team's salary cap situation, the player's role the on team or any other intangibles.
Having said that, let's look around the neighborhood.
The Season Stats:
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Here's how much each player got in their next UFA year contract. Mike Cammalleri and Matt Moulson are the ones to switch teams between contracts. Cammalleri went from Calgary to Montreal and Moulson re-signed with the Sabres after a month or two with Minnesota.
The Next Contracts:
|Patrick Sharp||CHI||2012||5 years||$28.5m||$5.9m||$6m, $6.5m (x2), $5.5, $5|
|Matt Moulson||BUF||2014||5 years||$25||$5M||$6M (x2), $5m (x2), $3m|
|Mike Cammalleri||MON||2009||5 years||$30m||$6m||$5m (x2), $6m, $7m (x2)|
|Henrik Zetterberg||DET||2009||12 years||$73m||$6.08||$7.4, $7.75 (x3), $7.5m (x4), $7m, $3.35 (x2), $1m (x2)|
|James Neal||PIT||2012||6 years||$30m||$5m||$5m (x6)|
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Based on these players, the bidding for Okposo's next contract will most likely begin at $6 million - nearly twice what he's making now - and five or six years in length (no offense to Kyle, but I don't think he would get a double stack monster mega deal like Zetterberg's, even if they weren't outlawed under the new CBA). Seven million wouldn't be out of the question, but would be a significant raise, one I doubt the Islanders want to give him.
Six million or slightly less would represent something of hometown discount. Personally, I think this entire "trading block" kerfuffle is a tactic to try and reduce Okposo's asking price or get him motivated for next season. But that might be my tinfoil hat talking.
Should the Islanders decide to resign Okposo for an AAV of, say $6 million per, he would match Johnny Boychuk as the team's highest paid player. Nick Leddy and John Tavares are next at $5.5 million a season.
And the comps for Tavares' next contract are going to keep us all up at night until 2018.