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Numbers Game: Jets ink veteran centre Jokinen

Scott Cullen
7/3/2012 1:30:25 AM
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Winnipeg added a veteran point-producing centre to their forward mix.

Numbers Game examines the Jets signing Olli Jokinen.

The Jets Get: C Olli Jokinen.

Jokinen, 33, experienced a bit of an offensive resurrection last season, scoring 23 goals and 61 points, his highest point total since 2007-2008, the last season that he played more than last season's average of 18:58 per game.

Since 2000-2001, there are two players (Henrik Sedin and Andrew Brunette) that have played more games than Jokinen's 886. There also happen to only be two players (Ilya Kovalchuk and Mike Sillinger) with a worst plus-minus than Jokinen's minus-96 over that period.

Even as his production has waned, falling below the point-per-game production of his peak years, Jokinen handled first-line responsibility for the Flames last season. In Winnipeg, he'll add experience and production down the middle, a position that is relatively thin, with Bryan Little the only returning pivot with more than 40 points last season.

Additionally, having Jokinen to eat up minutes down the middle should also allow the Jets to remain patient with last year's first-round pick, Mark Scheifele, who doesn't have to be rushed to the NHL before he's ready to play and contribute in a significant role. That doesn't mean Scheifele can't make the team next year, but it means that if he does make the club, he'll most likley have earned his spot.

Calgary prepared to cut ties with Jokinen by signing free agent centre Roman Cervenka, which required far less financial commitment than the two years, $9-million that Jokinen received from Winnipeg.

The acquisition of Jokinen doesn't necessarily make the Jets a playoff team, but they're a better team than the one that ended last season, having added a proven veteran scorer to the lineup.

Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.

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