INSTANT ANALYSIS: JOKINEN GIVES STAFF OPTIONS
The Pittsburgh Penguins this afternoon acquired forward Jussi Jokinen from Carolina in exchange for a conditional sixth or seventh round draft pick. Jokinen, 30, has one year left on his contract with a cap hit of $3 million which is problematic and a reason he went unclaimed last week, but the Hurricanes will be taking a portion of the salary cap hit back, a key to this deal happening from the Penguins perspective.
For the Penguins, the past couple days they really seemed to be identifying a centerman to help them in the faceoff circle and that need became even more magnified with Sidney Crosby’s injury who team officials expect to miss at least three weeks and while there’s optimism of Crosby returning before the playoffs, there is still an unknown surrounding him right now.
For the immediate future, Jokinen adds great insurance for Crosby. Jokinen’s 30 goal, 65 point season in 2009-2010 is not the type of player the Penguins are getting but he’s a fully capable skilled player to fill a top-9 role right now. He figures to immediately become the second line center with Crosby out, centering Pascal Dupuis and Chris Kunitz.
The Penguins addition of Jokinen is an indictment on Dustin Jeffrey who could still be moved between now and 3:00 p.m.
As for when this group gets healthy, I’ve mentioned in the past that management looked back at the 2009 season when evaluating this group and loved what Miroslav Satan gave them that post-season in providing some skill to the 4th line.
Jokinen could fill that role providing some skill, but more importantly faceoff ability and second power play time, in addition to getting a shift here and there in the top-9 as he can play all through the lineup at center or wing.
I’m waiting for word on the official cap hit the Hurricanes are taking back in regards to implications for next season but if the Hurricanes are taking half of the cap hit, I really like this deal for next season too.
Players who should not be happy about this move include Jeffrey and Joey Vitale who don’t appear to be in the picture for the playoff rotation.
Tyler Kennedy could also become a frequent scratch with Jokinen centering Glass and Adams on the fourth line.
Word we’ve been getting is the coaching staff wants Kennedy to stay put but with the Penguins likely not tendering Kennedy this summer at $2.1 million to retain his RFA rights, the smart move for Shero might be to gauge his trade value as the clock is ticking.