Jokinen, arguably the best free agent center on the open market, agreed to a two-year, $9 million contract with the Jets, it was reported on Monday, July 2. He gives Winnipeg just what it needed, a strong and experienced two-way center. Jokinen, 33, put up 23 goals and 61 points last season for the Calgary Flames. It was his seventh season of scoring 20 or more goals.
"We were looking to get a centerman if we could and we were fortunate to get him and very excited about getting him," Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff said on a Monday conference call. "He has the size and a tremendous amount of experience."
This is a big get for the Jets, who with yesterday's free agent addition of winger Alexei Ponikarovsky (135 career goals) have added considerable size, experience and offense over the last two days. In more than 1,042 career NHL games, Jokinen has scored 292 goals and 683 points. Jokinen may no longer be in his prime (he scored a career-high 91 points in 2006-07), but he's an upgrade. Plus, he gives restricted free agent Evander Kane another reason to re-sign with the Jets.
"Very excited about joining the Winnipeg Jets and getting a chance to play in front of the loudest fans in Canada!" Jokinen (@ollijokinen13) tweeted on Tuesday night.
The feeling is mutual.
Adam Martini is a freelance sportswriter and supporter of all Winnipeg sports teams. He no longer dreads Winnipeg winters now that the Jets have returned to town. Follow Adam and the Jets on Twitter @PegCitySports.