PHOTO COURTESY OF NHL.COM

St. Paul native completes 17th NHL season at the top of the game

St. Paul native and former Minnesota Gopher Kyle Okposo became the latest Minnesota-born player to hoist the Stanley Cup after the Florida Panthers defeated Edmonton Monday, June 24 2-1.

Okposo was acquired by the Panthers on March 8 from Buffalo for defenseman Calle Stalin and a conditional draft pick in the 2024 NHL Draft.

A product of Shattuck-St, Mary’s in Faribault, Okposo was drafted 7th overall in the 2006 NHL Draft by the New York Islanders after notching 27 goals for Des Moines in the USHL. He joined the Gophers the following season and had 40 points as a freshman. He returned for his sophomore season, but left half way through the year to join the New York Islanders, winning a three-year entry level contract.

After a brief stint in the AHL, he joined the parent club before the end of the 2008 season and a year later led the Islanders with 18 goals as a 20-year-old rookie. He played parts of nine seasons with the Islanders before signing a seven-year $42 million contract with Buffalo in 2016. He became an all-star in 2017. He played eight seasons with Buffalo and was named captain in 2022. He played his 1,000th game on Nov. 14, 2023.

He played six regular season games with Florida and finished the season with 12 goals and 10 assists between the two teams. After playing in the series’ first five games, he was healthy scratch for Florida in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals, but was told during the morning skate that he would be suiting up for Game 7. He played 12 shifts, logging 7:51 and won one face-off.

In his 17-year career, Okposo has been a resilient and consistent player who has produced 242 goals and 372 assists for 614 points.

After Game 7, Okposo was the third Florida player to raise the cup during the on-ice celebration.

Afterwards he skated around the ice with his four children, who were a big part of why he is still playing hockey.

In an interview with the Associated Press, Okposo said: “I almost retired, and they’re a big reason why I didn’t. I wanted to have one more crack at it, and I just wanted to put myself in the best position to do this. The fact that they’re here, and they’re able to experience it with me, it means everything.”

Kyle Okposo Stats

Regular seasonPlayoffs
SeasonTeamLeagueGPGAPtsPIMGPGAPtsPIM
2003–04Shattuck–Saint Mary’sHSMN7146539946
2004–05Shattuck–Saint Mary’sHSMN6547459272
2005–06Des Moines BuccaneersUSHL502731585611511168
2006–07University of MinnesotaWCHA331720373072134
2007–08University of MinnesotaWCHA1874116
2007–08Bridgeport Sound TigersAHL359192812
2007–08New York IslandersNHL92352
2008–09New York IslandersNHL6518213936
2008–09Bridgeport Sound TigersAHL21012
2009–10New York IslandersNHL8019335234
2010–11New York IslandersNHL385152040
2011–12New York IslandersNHL7924214546
2012–13New York IslandersNHL48420243863145
2013–14New York IslandersNHL7127426951
2014–15New York IslandersNHL601833511272132
2015–16New York IslandersNHL7922426451102684
2016–17Buffalo SabresNHL6519264524
2017–18Buffalo SabresNHL7615294440
2018–19Buffalo SabresNHL7814152941
2019–20Buffalo SabresNHL529101928
2020–21Buffalo SabresNHL35211130
2021–22Buffalo SabresNHL7421244543
2022–23Buffalo SabresNHL7511172834
2023–24Buffalo SabresNHL6112102232
2023–24Florida PanthersNHL600021702210
NHL totals1,051242372614554417101721

KYLE OKPOSO NOTES & TRANSACTIONS (NHL.com)

  • USHL All-Rookie Team (2006)
  • USHL First All-Star Team (2006)
  • USHL Rookie of the Year (2006)
  • WCHA All-Rookie Team (2007)
  • WCHA Second All-Star Team (2007)
  • Played in NHL All-Star Game (2017)
  • Signed as a free agent by Buffalo, July 1, 2016.
  • Traded to Florida by Buffalo for Calle Sjalin and a conditional pick in the 2024 NHL Draft, March 8, 2024.

Minnesotans who have won the Stanley Cup (courtesy of Vintage Minnesota Hockey/https://www.vintagemnhockey.com)

Year

NHL Team

Player

Birthplace

1907Kenora Thistles*Roxy BeaudroRed Lake Falls
1934Chicago BlackhawksLeroy GoldsworthyTwo Harbors
1934Chicago BlackhawksDoc RomnesWhite Bear Lake
1938Chicago BlackhawksCully DahlstromMinneapolis
1938Chicago BlackhawksVirgil Johnson Minneapolis
1938Chicago BlackhawksMike KarakasEveleth
1938Chicago BlackhawksDoc RomnesWhite Bear Lake
1939Boston BruinsFrank BrimsekEveleth
1941Boston BruinsFrank BrimsekEveleth
1977Montreal CanadiensMike PolichHibbing
1980New York IslandersDave LangevinSt. Paul
1981New York IslandersDave LangevinSt. Paul
1982New York IslandersDave LangevinSt. Paul
1983New York IslandersDave LangevinSt. Paul
1984Edmonton OilersDon JacksonBloomington
1985Edmonton OilersDon JacksonBloomington
1986Montreal CanadiensTom KurversMinneapolis
1986Montreal CanadiensDavid MaleyEdina
1989Calgary FlamesJoel OttoElk River
1993Montreal CanadiensSean HillDuluth
1995New Jersey DevilsNeal BrotenRoseau
1995New Jersey DevilsTom ChorskeMinneapolis
1995New Jersey DevilsChris McAlpineRoseville
1995New Jersey DevilsMike PelusoColeraine
1999Dallas StarsJamie LangenbrunnerCloquet
1999Dallas StarsDerek PlanteCloquet
2001Colorado AvalancheDan HinoteElk River
2001Colorado AvalancheShjon PodeinRochester
2003New Jersey DevilsJamie LangenbrunnerCloquet
2004Tampa Bay LightningBen ClymerBloomington
2006Carolina HurricanesMatt CullenVirginia
2006Carolina HurricanesBret HedicanNorth St. Paul
2007Anaheim DucksRyan CarterWhite Bear Lake
2007Anaheim DucksJoe MotzkoBemidji
2009Pittsburgh PenguinsAlex GoligoskiGrand Rapids
2010Chicago BlackhawksDustin ByfuglienRoseau
2013Chicago BlackhawksNick LeddyEden Prairie
2016Pittsburgh PenguinsMatt CullenVirginia
2017Pittsburgh PenguinsMatt CullenVirginia
2018Washington CapitalsTravis BoydEdina
2018Washington CapitalsShane GersichChaska
2018Washington CapitalsMatt NiskanenVirginia
2020Tampa Bay LightningRyan McDonaghSt. Paul
2021Tampa Bay LightningRyan McDonaghSt. Paul
2022Colorado AvalancheEric JohnsonBloomington
2024Florida PanthersKyle OkposoSt. Paul

* Roxy Beaudro, born in Red Lake Falls, MN in 1884, moved to Rat Portage (Kenora) around 1890 and was the 1st American born & Minnesota player – along with teammate Si Griffis of Onaga, Kansas – to capture the Stanley Cup in January of 1907.