32-Year-Old Left Wing – Florida Panthers
Jussi Jokinen Contract Information:
Signed a four-year, $16 million deal with the Panthers in July of 2014.
Jokinen chipped in two assists in Tuesday's 4-3 win over the Flames.
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Jussi Jokinen: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Jokinen signed with Florida coming off a pleasant 57-point season with Pittsburgh in 2013-14, which included his second career 20-goal season. Underlining his strong season, Jokinen grabbed 21 points on the power play and set a new career-high with 172 shots, while maintaining a shooting percentage right around his career norm. The fact that he skated much of the year with Evgeni Malkin is relevant, as his pivot this year will be either Aleksander Barkov or Nick Bjugstad. Both players are less gifted offensively than Malkin, but Jokinen will still benefit from ample playing time, including on one of the Panthers’ power-play units. Even so, another 50-point season is probably a stretch, but a 20-goal, 40-point season is not out of the question.
Jokinen burst onto Pittsburgh's scene in a big way last year after the team traded for him from Carolina. The forward passed through waivers only weeks before the deal because of a $3 million salary with two seasons left on it. He potted seven goals and 11 points in the final 10 games of the regular season, picking up his game at center while Sidney Crosby recovered from a broken jaw. Unfortunately, he cooled off after the hot start. He tallied three assists in eight games and battled through a knee injury in the postseason. On a healthy Penguins squad, Jokinen is little more than a complementary player. Of course, injuries seem to follow Crosby and Evgeni Malkin around -- something that would crack the door of opportunity for Jokinen.
Now two full years removed from his sensational, 65-point campaign in 2009-2010, Jokinen has steadily regressed in goals production while maintaining his assist rate; he finished last season with 12 goals and 34 assists. A likely candidate to play left wing on a line with the Staal brothers in 2012-2013, look for Jokinen to benefit from an uptake in scoring chances this season.
There had been some initial doubt that Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford would be able to retain Jokinen this past offseason, but the team was able to re-sign him to a three-year, $9 million deal, preventing him from skating away from Raleigh as an unrestricted free agent. Certainly it was a key signature for the Hurricanes, since Jokinen is one of the team’s top offensive weapons. The versatile forward has accumulated 114 points (49 G, 68 A) including 42 power-play points over the past two seasons alone. Lower-body injuries did limit Jokinen to 70 games last season, making him a slight injury risk, but the Finn is worth taking a chance on right after the elite wingers are off the board on fantasy draft day.
It's no secret that the Hurricanes love their Finnish players, and Jokinen is no exception. If he can repeat his 30-30 season, or even come close to it, fantasy owners will start loving him, too. With Ray Whitney shipped to Phoenix, Jokinen should continue getting plenty of chances on the side of team captain, Eric Staal, while the 'Canes will need him to pick up the slack of their departed veteran winger.
Jokinen is someone to watch this season after his impressive playoff campaign that began last April. Ultimately, his electrifying postseason included 11 points (7G, 4A) in 18 games, very impressive numbers considering the forward only had 27 regular-season points between Carolina and Tampa Bay, the team that traded him in February 2009. Confidence from a superb playoff campaign along with his earning a new two-year, $3.4 million contract, could cause Jokinen to break out as early as this year. The ‘Canes should use him on the man advantage and also on short-handed opportunities. A 15-point increase for Jokinen is not out of the question.
Jokinen arrived in Tampa Bay with descriptions like "two-way player," "solid defensively" and "great potential." Now, he's largely irrelevant and on the trading block a mere six months later. A change of scenery is his only hope.
Exploded onto the scene with 55 points (17 goals, 38 assists) and a bevy of moves in shootouts. He's expected to continue along the same path in 2006-07.
Coming off a good year in the Finnish Elite League, but will likely start the year at Iowa of the AHL. Good scoring potential down the road.