Veteran forward Kyle Okposo to play in crucial Game 7 for Florida Panthers

Elliot Ben Jacob
June 24, 2024  (3:04 PM)

Paul Maurice of the Florida Panthers.
Photo credit: Sporting News

Kyle Okposo will step in for Nick Cousins in Game 7 for the Florida Panthers against the Edmonton Oilers, as the team faces a decisive match after squandering a 3-0 lead in the series.

Panthers make lineup change for Game 7

The Panthers have announced a change to their lineup for tonight's game 7, with Nick Cousins shockingly being swapped out for Okposo. With the Panthers wasting a 3-0 lead in the series, the Oilers have pushed back hard to force game 7.
Panthers lineup change for Game 7: Kyle Okposo will be in for Nick Cousins tonight.
This is definitely a strange decision as Okposo has not even scored in the series, and only has around a total of 8 minutes of ice time throughout the playoffs. However, he's been a physical presence with 19 hits, third on the team, and five blocked shots. Cousins, who replaced him in Game 6, also didn't score but had two blocked shots in 9:48 of ice time.

Okposo to bolster fourth line

Okposo is clearly taking this honour very seriously, and it could be a very emotional game for him, as demonstrated by what he said to his son:
I grabbed my son today, who is 8, and said, 'You know what I was doing when I was your age? I was in the driveway with my roller blades on pretending I was in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final.' How special that you're going to be able to go to the game?

Aiming for his first Stanley Cup

Pursuing his first Stanley Cup, Okposo has played 1,051 career games. If the Panthers win, he'll receive a $500,000 performance bonus, part of the one-year, $2.5 million contract he signed as captain with Buffalo before he was traded. The bonus will impact Florida's salary cap next season if they secure the trophy. However, it's a trade they're willing to make in exchange for a first-ever drink out of the Cup.
So excited for him man. This is very likely the last game of Kyle Okposo's career. 17 years into his nhl career. A chance for his Ray Bourque moment
Acquired for prospect Calle Sjalin and a conditional draft pick, Okposo has two assists in 16 playoff games this postseason. His last playoff appearance was with the New York Islanders in 2016, where he tallied two goals and eight points in 11 contests.
The Panthers hope Okposo's experience and physical presence will provide the edge needed to clinch the series and advance further in the playoffs. The anticipation is high as Okposo gets ready to make his mark in what could be a defining moment in his career.