Center - WPG
GOALS: 23 | ASST: 38 | PTS: 61
SOG: 223 | +/-: -12
The Winnipeg Jets are pleased to announce they have agreed to terms with forward Olli Jokinen on a new contract. As per club policy, terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
"We're very, very excited to get him," Jets' GM Kevin Cheveldayoff told media in a conference call Monday evening. "He's got size and a tremendous amount of experience. We believe that with adding the size of (Alexei) Ponikarovsky and now Jokinen that we're a much bigger and harder team to play against.
"We worked extremely hard at this deal as we did on other deals that didn't come in our direction. All you can do is put your best offers forward and we're very happy to have Olli as part of the Winnipeg Jets family."
The Los Angeles Kings drafted the native of Kuopio, Finland in the first round, third overall in 1997. Since then, Jokinen has played in 1,042 career NHL games with Kings, New York Islanders, Florida, Phoenix, the New York Rangers, and Calgary Flames.
Throughout his tenure, he’s scored 683 points (292G, 391A) and collected 967 penalty minutes. His best season came in 2006-07 when he scored 91 points (39G, 51A). He has played in six career Stanley Cup playoff games where he’s scored five points (2G, 3A) and four penalty minutes.
In addition to his offensive upside and veteran experience, Jokinen adds size to the roster, measuring in at 6-foot-3, 210 pounds.
"His size comes to the forefront," said Cheveldayoff. "He's difficult to handle when he gets moving and he does move very well. He likes to shoot the puck and he's not afraid to do that and there are lots of opportunities for him to score and opportunities for other players to score off of rebounds and create plays.
“He has been a very durable player over the years, which is shown by the number of games he’s played on a season-to-season basis. He’s very excited about being at the forefront of the group that has young players that have a chance to continue to grow and get better, and he’s really looking forward to the opportunity to contribute in that regard.”
Jokinen, 33, played in all 82 games last season with the Calgary Flames where he finished second on the team in scoring with 61 points (23G, 38A) and collected 54 penalty minutes. His 38 assists were tops on the Flames as were his nine powerplay goals.
“A lot of people wrote me off a couple of years ago when I went back to Calgary,” said Jokinen on a conference call Tuesday morning. “Those guys [Calgary Flames management] believed that I could still play in the league and be an impact player. I think the last year and a half I changed my game to be a better overall player. The credit goes to Brent [Sutter, Flames head coach 2009-12]. He taught me how to play good in both ends and how to play against other teams top lines and how to be more helpful to the team.”
When it came time to make a decision for the free agent, Jokinen said although it was a big one for him and his family, it was an easy one to make when he looked at the big picture.
“I had two other offers,” said Jokinen. “I looked at the lineups and I looked at Winnipeg’s lineup and it’s an up and coming team and I thought it would be a good fit for me. I think I can help the team make the next step.
“Last night when it was time to make the decision, it was a little bit stressful. I wanted to make sure I was going to make the right decision. My family loves living in Canada, so it was an easy decision to choose Winnipeg.”
Jokinen expressed his excitement about his new contract with the Jets to the local media and the social media world through his twitter account.
“When you get older you want to win and be a part of something good and I think there is something good in Winnipeg,” said Jokinen. “Whatever my role is going to be, I’m going to be the best that I can.”
Jokinen’s twitter: 'Very excited about joining the Winnipeg Jets and getting a chance to play in front of the loudest fans in Canada!'