When Penguins GM Ray Shero acquired veteran Jussi Jokinen from Carolina at the trade deadline for a conditional draft pick it almost seemed like an afterthought. After all, Shero had spent the previous week snatching up three of the hottest commodities on the market—Jarome Iginla, Brenden Morrow, and Douglas Murray.
But make no mistake—Jokinen’s the real deal. A versatile forward who can play wing or center with equal ability, the Finnish flash scored 30 goals for the Hurricanes in 2009-10. Over the course of a solid seven-year NHL career he’s averaged just over 16 goals per season.
“He’s a versatile guy,” Shero said. “There are various roles he could fill at that point in time where you get everybody healthy.”
Jokinen’s production isn’t confined to the regular season. During the 2009 playoffs he struck for seven goals in 18 postseason contests for the ‘Canes—including a tally in Game 2 of the Conference Finals against the Pens.
Thus far he’s proving to be a terrific acquisition. In his first game wearing the black and gold Jokinen scored twice (including the shootout winner) to pace the Pens to a crucial 2-1 win over the Rangers. All told, No. 36 has collected three goals and five points while filling in for injured superstar Sidney Crosby.
“He’s done a great job since he’s been here,” Chris Kunitz said following Jokinen’s sparkling two-goal effort against Tampa Bay on April 11. “A great addition.”