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Flames acquire Jokinen from Coyotes

by Dan Rosen
Unless something drastic happens in the next five weeks, Olli Jokinen is finally going to get a chance to play in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Jokinen, an 11-year veteran who has never played in a playoff game, was traded Wednesday to the Calgary Flames from the Phoenix Coyotes in a blockbuster deal that included three players and two draft picks.

Along with Jokinen, Phoenix gave Calgary its third-round pick in this year's Entry Draft. Heading to the desert are forwards Matthew Lombardi and Brandon Prust as well as a conditional first-round pick. The Flames will give Phoenix notice by June 1 on whether they are giving up this year's first-round pick or their first-round pick in 2010.

The key to this deal is obviously Jokinen, who developed under current Flames coach Mike Keenan while both were in Florida from 2001-04. Now they are reunited in Calgary, which leads the Northwest Division and is third in the Western Conference standings.

Jokinen has 21 goals and 21 assists in 57 games this season, his first in Phoenix after being traded to the Coyotes at the 2008 Entry Draft for defenseman Keith Ballard and Nick Boynton as well as a second-round pick. He is in his 10th full NHL season and is headed to his fifth organization -- he started with the Los Angeles Kings before moving to the New York Islanders, Florida, Phoenix and now Calgary.

Jokinen has 503 points in 780 NHL games. He had a career high 91 points in 2006-07 while with the Panthers. He has appeared in 789 regular-season games played without a playoff appearance -- more than anyone in NHL history, but a record that's sure to end in a few weeks.

It's not as if the Coyotes are getting nothing in return, though.

Lombardi, one of the NHL's fastest skaters, has 30 points and a plus-11 rating in 50 games this season and Prust, 24, a rookie, has 79 penalty minutes in just 25 games. Lombardi had 46 points in 2006-07 and 36 last season. Prust had 37 points last season for the Quad City Flames of the American Hockey League.

“We are excited to add two young players in Lombardi and Prust to our lineup,” Coyotes GM Dona Maloney said. “Lombardi’s speed and scoring touch along with Prust’s physical style should fit our team very well.”

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