NHL trade grades: Kyle Okposo adds depth to Panthers’ bottom six

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The trade

Florida Panthers get: Right wing Kyle Okposo.

Buffalo Sabres get: Defenseman Calle Sjalin, conditional seventh-round pick in 2024.

There is a lot to like with this Okposo trade. It isn’t just a solid move for Florida, but a great story. Okposo hasn’t had it easy in his NHL career but now is all but guaranteed to return to the playoffs for the first time in eight years, in what could be his last season.

The Panthers are already stacked with offensive talent at the top of their lineup. What this team needed at the deadline was some forward depth. Vladimir Tarasenko added that to the top six, and now Okposo brings some reinforcements to the bottom six. The veteran forward is reliable defensively, and someone Florida can count on to be a forechecker, which should fit right in on the Panthers. He isn’t much of a rush threat, but he can dump the puck in and kick in some secondary scoring with his crafty play.

The price of acquisition here honestly doesn’t do much for Buffalo — but realistically, he wasn’t going to bring much more back in this wingers market. But this trade really wasn’t about that — it was about moving their captain to a place he wanted to go for potentially one last shot at the Stanley Cup. So even if this pick doesn’t upgrade to a fifth-rounder, it honestly bodes well for the Sabres. It could be what sways some veterans this summer to take a chance on them because management is showing a willingness to do right by their players.

Panthers grade: A-
Sabres grade: B

(Photo: Ben Green / NHLI via Getty Images)

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