Latest Pens Buzz

It’s now bargain hunting for NHL clubs.

Jussi Jokinen today signed a one year, $1.1 million contract with the Edmonton Oilers. Jokinen, 34, was bought out on June 30th by the Florida Panthers after a disappointing 28 point performance for the Panthers in 16/17, though, the buy-out was more driven for financial reasons.

Jokinen is just one season removed from a 60 point campaign and could be a strong addition to the Oilers bottom-6, especially with his ability to play wing and center, though, most clubs interested in Jokinen were looking at him as a winger.

With the Penguins having a hole down the middle behind Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, and Jokinen being a former productive Penguin who loved his time in Pittsburgh, in addition to a connection to Jim Rutherford, it would have been an easy fit for the Penguins and Jokinen to embark on a reunion.

Yet, Jokinen potentially returning to Pittsburgh wasn’t something the Penguins were interested in.

Jokinen’s agent [hide] Todd Diamond reached out to the Penguins on July 1 and other then the two sides having a brief conversation that day, Pittsburgh did not show interest or pursue signing Jokinen before today, the Jokinen camp confirms to me.

Why did the Penguins pass at even looking into Jokinen?

Indications are they didn’t see a spot for him available on the wing and they didn’t want to lock themselves into him as one of their top-4 center options.

One source says the Penguins don’t see Jokinen as a capable enough centerman at this stage in his career for what they’re looking for from the third line center position.

I’m sure there’s already some charts out there on the internet comparing Ryan Reaves and Jussi Jokinen as Reaves makes more than Jokinen.

Having a spot for Reaves among the Penguins Top-12 is not going to be an issue.

More of an issue in maximizing this roster is deciding to hold on to Carl Hagelin.

Hagelin was bothered big time during the post-season with a broken foot that never fully recovered and while he stepped up in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final, his production for the entire season never came close to matching proper value for a $4 million a year player.

— Parameters of a four year deal for Rick Tocchet to become the Coyotes next coach is in place. Rumblings late Thursday is the Coyotes were hopeful to introduce Tocchet as coach on Monday.

League sources say the likely hire of Tocchet is strictly owner driven by Andrew Barroway as Tocchet was not on John Chayka (Coyotes GM) initial radar.

That’s going to make this coach/GM marriage fascinating to watch if Tocchet takes the job which the Penguins are anticipating he will.

With Barroway making the push for Tocchet, and he’s throwing some big bucks at Tocchet to try to lure him back to Arizona, league chatter is Tocchet would have significant control on personnel decisions and those are among the final details being worked out.

Those close to Tocchet say he doesn’t have any fear of the challenge in Arizona but If Tocchet gets cold feet, the sense it will only be because of concern of the working relationship with Chayka.[/hide]