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Numbers Game: Jokinen Joining the Flames

Scott Cullen
3/4/2009 2:02:51 PM
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For years, the Calgary Flames have needed a number one centre and they acquired one from Phoenix in Olli Jokinen.

Numbers Game examines Jokkinen's reunion with Flames coach Mike Keenan.

The Flames Get: C Olli Jokinen and a third-round pick.

Jokinen, 30, is infamous for having never played in the NHL playoffs, despite accumulating 780 career NHL games.  That will change this season.

In his previous three seasons, Jokinen averaged 37 goals and better than 83 points, so his decline this season (to 21 goals and 42 points) has been significant. 

While a lack of chemistry in Phoenix has been cited as the cause for Jokinen's decline, he'll have to raise his all-around game when he moves to Calgary, where there are many veteran leaders on a team headed for the postseason.  Expectations will be high.

By improving his situation and giving him quality veteran linemates, the Flames will at least put Jokinen in a position to succeed and he could very well get back to his point-per-game level if he ends up playing with Jarome Iginla.

Jokinen is under contract for next season as well, when he will earn $5.5-million and come at a cap hit of $5.25-million.

The third-round pick doesn't bring a lot of value, but helps to offset the first-rounder that the Flames surrendered to make the deal.  For more on draft pick value, click here.

The Coyotes Get: C Matthew Lombardi, LW Brandon Prust and a first-round pick.

Lombardi, who turns 27 in two weeks, is a spectacular skater -- one of the best in the entire league.  While Lombardi's offensive game hasn't quite blossomed as hoped, he's still having what could be the best season of his career, putting up 30 points and a plus-11 rating in 50 games.

Since his offensive potential is limited, Lombardi should be a better fit on the second or third line in Phoenix, but until one of the younger pivots rises to the challenge, Lombardi could just as easily be playing first-line minutes now.

Lombardi has one more season, at a cap hit of a little more than $1.8-million, but (just as importantly for the cash-conscious Coyotes) he will earn $2.35-million next season.

Prust is a 24-year-old who has played a career-high 25 NHL games this season, but has suffered some injuries along the way as well.  There's no shortchanging his toughness, as Prust is about as combative as they come, but he's also not a bad player to fill a checking role on the fourth line.

The Flames' first-round pick is going to be in the later stages of the first round, but it's a decent asset to pair with a Coyotes pick that will definitely be in the Top 10, if not Top Five when all is said and done.

Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@ctv.ca

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