NHL.com is previewing every team leading up to the theoretical start of training camp, and recently, they highlighted the Winnipeg Jets, who are preparing for their second season in Manitoba, and are going to make a hard push for the playoffs this year.
The Jets made two big offensive additions this year, in Alexei Ponikarovsky and Olli Jokinen. Pomikarovsky’s price tag isn’t so much as to be an alarm, but Jokinent at 2 years and $4.5 million a year lead to impression that he is expected to be a primary contributor with the Jets.
The NHL article noted that the Jets were looking to add depth at center, and were delighted by Jokinen’s size as well as his skill. No doubt, Jokinen has been a very good player though his career. For his last two seasons in Florida, Jokinen was probably one of the best pivots in the league, which explains the haul the Panthers got when they traded him to Phoenix. Ever since, though, despite more talent in Calgary (Jarome Iginla ?), he has seen his numbers dwindle as his age has advanced.
Last season in Calgary, Jokinen scored 63 points, with 38 of those assists. His veteran presence in Winnipeg will be appreciated, though it doesn’t come with much playoff experience (just one series with Calgary in 2008). Is that worth 4.5 million dollars for two years? I don’t know that I would spend quite that much money, when there are other extensions that may be more valuable to the Jets.
Time will tell if Jokinen is a good fit in Winnipeg, but it’s hard to see that it is right now.