Who is Olli Jokinen?

ST. LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 10: Olli Jokinen #13 of the Calgary Flames looks to keep Alex Pietrangelo #27 of the St. Louis Blues off the puck at the Scottrade Center on October 10, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

Not too long after we received news about (and analyzed) the Alexei Ponikarovsky signing, the Winnipeg Jets signed another forward, Olli Jokinen. Jokinen has a long, storied career of okay performance, a lot of shooting, and amusing caricatures (the list is long for this last: Dancing Olli, Fighting Olli, Eating Olli). Lured by a 2 year, $9 million contract, he enters the Jets fold late in his career, an adept filler for the top 6 that isn't quite ready to see prospects Mark Scheifele or Ivan Telegin. So, what kind of player is Mr. Jokinen?

Ze Numbers


Olli Jokinen

Center / Winnipeg Jets

6-3

215

Dec 05, 1978 - Kuopio, Finland


Season Tm GP 5v5 TOI 5v4 4v5 5v5 QoC 5v5 CRel Z% 5v5 G/60 A/60 PTS/60
07-08 FLA 82 1 1 11 10 6 49.9 0.77 0.96 1.73
08-09 PHX/CGY 76 2 1 11 8 7 55.8 0.96 0.85 1.81
09-10 CGY/NYR 82 3 3 11 6 3 51.8 0.51 1.17 1.69
10-11 CGY 79 3 3 10 7 12 52.9 0.66 1.10 1.75
11-12 CGY 82 2 3 12 3 14 47.9 0.65 1.15 1.80

As with the Ponikarovsky article, the first five metric columns are his rank among forward teammates with 20+ games played.

He's a bit different than Poni in regards to his performance; where Poni was impressively sound at 5v5 in Corsi Rel, Jokinen's a bit of a mixed bag. His offence is undeniable, though, as evidenced by his continued use on the powerplay and 5v5 scoring that would place him in consistently average 2nd-line forward territory. He's not the kind of guy you should lean on defensively, but with favorable zone starts and powerplay time he will produce for you; I'd suggest not thinking of him as a surefire top-line centre anymore. As for the powerplay, this is where he could really earn his chops:

Season Tm GP 5v4 TOI 5v4 G/60 Lg Rk 5v4 PTS/60 Lg Rk
07-08 FLA 82 3.60 2.84 11 4.88 32
08-09 PHX/CGY 76 3.82 1.66 84 3.93 105
09-10 CGY/NYR 82 2.64 0.83 150 3.33 126
10-11 CGY 79 2.95 1.29 104 5.15 32
11-12 CGY 82 3.02 2.18 31 5.82 13

After a couple of years broken between three organizations, Jokinen settled nicely into a top-line powerplay role with Calgary and resumed his powerplay form of the Florida years. Obviously, being paired with a talented sniper like Jarome Iginla could elevate the point totals of a guy like Jokinen, so there's a possibility that the same could happen with Evander Kane. One thing worth pointing out: initially, I was concerned that Jokinen would take away from Kane's shot volume if they were paired together, but the last two years suggest to me that he's settled into more of a playmaking role. As Derek indicated, the faceoffs are a bit of a problem, but it's not something to be devastated about.

As with Poni, then, we should ask the three questions: what's the damage, where does he fit, and was it worth it?

The damage is a little bit high for a guy who can't play all minutes and isn't quite a top-line forward anymore, but when it comes to overpays this one is tolerable because a.) the Jets need to meet the cap floor, and b.) Jokinen seems to have a logical fit in our forward lines...which leads to answering the next question. Here's where I see the best fit:

  1. Andrew Ladd --- Bryan Little --- Blake Wheeler
  2. Evander Kane --- Jokinen --- Alexander Burmistrov
  3. Poni --- Jim Slater --- Nik Antropov
  4. Antti Miettinen / Carl Klingberg / Ivan Telegin --- Patrice Cormier --- Spencer Machacek / Chris Thorburn
Obviously, some swapping could occur, but if we're concerned about getting Burmi to the next step, he'll need some top 6 minutes. Conceivably, the top two lines are more of a 2a, 2b set of forward lines, but we can expect some scoring out of our third to provide some extra offence. Ideally, I could see Ladd's Little Wheeler getting some tougher matchup minutes, PSA getting somewhat tough minutes (but not as tough as Ladd's Little Wheeler), and some cushy minutes going the way of KJB. The bonus is the possibility that the 4th line serves up some quality performances, leading to depth-chart promotions for any of Klingberg, Telegin (possibly late in the season), Cormier, or Machacek.

Finally, was it worth it? It's a little bit rough for me to approve of a $4.5m cap hit, but it's not a long contract, and in a way I consider it a necessary contract. We do not have a young guy ready to step into a top 6 centre role, and two years sounds about right for when either Scheifele or Telegin might be ready to go. The end result is a pretty nice-looking set of forward lines, assuming they shake out the way I've envisioned above. In a bit of a redemptive move, Cheveldayoff gives me another reason to believe in him again.
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