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Jets sign Olli Jokinen

Monday, 07.02.2012 / 9:20 PM

By Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor / NHL Free Agency 2012 blog

The Winnipeg Jets have found their No. 1 center in Olli Jokinen.

The Jets signed the unrestricted free agent to a two-year contract Monday night. TSN is reporting the deal will pay Jokinen a total of $9 million.

"Olli is someone that we identified when we went through the process of identifying a players that would be available at the free agency time," Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said. "We were looking to get at centerman if we could and we were very fortunate to get him. We're very excited about getting him. He's got the size, a tremendous amount of experience. He had great consistency over the years. With adding the size of [Alexei] Ponikarovsky and now Jokinen, we're a bigger and harder team to play against.

"We're very excited about the opportunity to bring in a front-line player and top-six player into the organization."

Jokinen, 33, was second on the Calgary Flames last season with 61 points, and third with 23 goals. He played all 82 games, including No. 1,000 of his NHL career.

"Very excited about joining the Winnipeg Jets and getting a chance to play in front of the loudest fans in Canada!" Jokinen wrote on his Twitter account.

In 14 seasons with the Kings, Islanders, Panthers, Coyotes, Flames and Rangers, Jokinen has 292 goals and 391 assists in 1,042 games. He's fourth all-time among Finnish-born players in games played and points (683), and third in goals.

Cheveldayoff said in speaking with Jokinen, the veteran is excited to be joining a young team like the Jets.

"He's someone that when we did actually speak with his representative and spoke with him in the end here, he's very excited about being at the forefront of a group that has young players that have a chance to continue to grow and get better," Cheveldayoff said. "He's really looking forward to the opportunity to contribute in that regard."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

Playing for my favorite team growing up, I've probably scored that goal a million times in my driveway. It feels good to actually do it in real life.

— Dale Weise, who grew up a Canadiens fan, on scoring the overtime winner in Montreal's 5-4 victory against Tampa Bay in Game 1