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RFA Jussi Jokinen Signs for Two

by Paul Branecky / Carolina Hurricanes
It seems the Hurricanes have finally had some luck with their free agents.

Paul Branecky
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The Hurricanes and restricted free agent Jussi Jokinen have agreed to terms on a new two-year contract worth an average of $1.7 million per season. Despite his extremely successful playoffs (11 points in 18 games) his annual cap hit will actually go down slightly from the two-year contract he signed with Dallas prior to the 2007-08 season.

“Jussi was a good addition to our team last season, and he really stepped into his role in the playoffs,” General Manager Jim Rutherford said in a release. “His ability to contribute on the power play and penalty kill, and his versatility at different forward positions makes him a valuable player.”

In addition to his ability to play in any situation in practially any area of the ice, Jokinen also carries the reputation as one of the most feared shootout specialists in the league.  At just 26 years of age, he’s still quite young and is confident he can improve upon last season’s play and reproduce his 55-point rookie campaign with the Stars from 2005-06

“I still feel I have another level, and I’ll word hard over the summer to still be a better player than I was this year,” he said at his exit interview with the media on May 28.

Although he scored seven playoff goals this past spring – the same amount that he had in 71 regular season games – he’s best known for three in particular. His tallies against New Jersey (the winner with 0.2 seconds left in Game 4 and the equalizer with 1:20 left in Game 7) and Boston (overtime winner in Game 3) were surely some of the most exciting moments in the team’s playoff history.

Jokinen is the first player signing of the summer for Carolina, which still has unrestricted free agents Erik Cole and Chad LaRose and restricted free agents Anton Babchuk and Tuomo Ruutu at the top of the to-do list.

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