More specifically, it’s time to get right into the thick of things when it comes to the Edmonton Oilers. The boys are back in town, taking in some skates on the community rink, and training camp is set to get underway. With all this happening so quickly, it’s nice to get a refresher on some of the new faces we will be seeing in Oiler silks for the next year or so.
On of those new faces was signed on July 7th of this past summer. Finnish forward, Jussi Jokinen, was inked to a 1-year deal worth a total of 1.1 million dollars.
Jokinen spent the past 3 years with the Florida Panthers, where he served as their alternate captain just last season. He was able to hit the free-agent market as a result of Florida buying out the final year of his contract.
So…Who Is Jussi Jokinen?
If you’ve been following hockey for the past 10 years, Jussi Jokinen should be a familiar name.
Drafted by the Dallas Stars in 2001, Jokinen is a veteran left-winger of over 850 NHL games. He has bounced around the league quite a bit, having played with Dallas, Tampa Bay, Carolina, Pittsburgh, and Florida in his 15-year career. However, with experience comes age, and many fans fear that the 34-year-old Finn will start to see some regression in the immediate seasons to come.
In the prime of his career, with the Carolina Hurricanes, Jokinen could be trusted to put up close to 50pts a season, and he isn’t too far off of that in recent years either. He had a disappointing 2016/17, with the Panthers, having only tallied 28pts in 69GP, but he is only one season removed from a 60pt campaign in 2015/16.
It was puzzling to see the Panthers buy out a player like Jokinen considering that he was both, as I said, one season removed from 60pts and their assistant captain. Perhaps the “down” year was enough for management to make up their minds.
Anyhow, Jussi Jokinen has been described as a playmaker who is very good at holding onto the puck. To build on his possession skills, he also excels when it comes to stick-handling. On the defensive end of the game, Jokinen is very capable at doing the job in his own end and follows that up with a good positional game.
When it comes to specialties, it should be no surprise to anyone when I mention the shootout. Since the controversial tie-breaker was brought into the league in after the ’05 lockout, Jokinen has been able to craft a highlight reel from his attempts alone. He is also quite handy to have on the ice for important faceoffs. Despite playing most of his time on the left-wing, Jussi has put up impressive faceoff numbers over the years.
In terms of special teams, he has a plethora of experience and success as a penalty killer.
Uh huh…So What Can We Expect?
If you had time to listen to some of the most recent interviews with Peter Chiarelli and Todd McLellan, you can already get a sense of what the Oilers expect out of Jokinen.
He will most likely line up on the third line flanking RNH on the left-wing, with Jesse Puljujarvi on the right-side. Not only will he be a good veteran presence for Nugent-Hopkins but, he will also serve as an important part of Puljujarvi’s development as an NHL player. Considering both players are Finnish, this should help the young kid adjust to life in the big leagues.
Other than that, we could also see Jokinen spending some time on the penalty kill where he could take high-risk face-offs in the defensive end.
Overall, what we can expect from Jokinen is a steady veteran player with good possession numbers and is responsible in each zone of the ice. His age might show a little and he might have rough patches throughout the season but, he will be a welcome addition to the 2017/18 Edmonton Oilers.
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