Kyle Okposo left Buffalo on March 8. ©2024, Micheline Veluvolu

Kevyn Adams believes Kyle Okposo left lasting impact with Sabres

LAS VEGAS – Having won the Stanley Cup with the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006, Buffalo Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams understands what Kyle Okposo, his former captain, felt when he lifted the prized trophy above his head Monday.

“I’m fortunate enough to know how special a feeling that is,” Adams said Thursday in the Wynn Hotel prior to the NHL Draft.

Adams, who traded Okposo to the Florida Panthers on March 8, is happy on multiple levels the respected 16-year veteran won a championship in what could be his final NHL appearance.

On a personal level, Adams is grateful for what Okposo, his captain for nearly two seasons, gave to the organization.

“(It) will benefit our guys for years to come,” he said.

When Adams played for the Hurricanes, he remembers a teenage Eric Staal, who would record 455 goals and 1,065 points during his 18-year career, sitting between Ron Francis and Rod Brind’Amour.

“I remember thinking about what Eric Staal was learning at 18 years old from Ron Francis and Rod Brind’Amour,” said Adams, who acquired Staal in 2020 in his first trade as GM.

Adams believes Okposo, 36, had a similar impact on the Sabres’ young players.

“All those young guys in our lineup for the last two, three years, he made an impact on,” he said. “And so that’s a big deal. And then from just personal with him, and just seeing him be able to raise the Cup and have that opportunity. … I was happy for him.”

Adams is also happy the conditional seventh-round pick the Panthers dealt the Sabres became a fifth-round selection, the 161st pick today, because they won the Cup.

“We got a little better pick out of it,” he said.

The Sabres on Friday re-signed defenseman Kale Clague to a one-year, two-way contract worth $775,000 in the NHL.

Clague, 26, recorded one assist in three games for the Sabres last season and three goals and 23 points in 42 contests for the Rochester Americans.

He has spent months at a time in Buffalo over the past two seasons, often serving as an extra defenseman.

The 6-foot, 186-pound Clague has compiled two goals and 21 points in 94 career NHL games with the Sabres, Montreal Canadiens and Los Angeles Kings.

Clague could’ve become a restricted free agent Monday.

Prior to Friday’s first round, fans in The Sphere continued the tradition of booing NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. The booing, however, did not last as long as past years.

This is the final draft the league plans to hold at a centralized venue.

The Sabres pick eight times today in the final seven rounds: 42nd, 43rd, 76th, 108th, 109th, 161st, 172nd and 204th.

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