The Winnipeg Jets proved that even with minimal star power they could be a threat to win the Southeast Division or at least make the playoffs. While they got good seasons from Evander Kane, Blake Wheeler and Andrew Ladd, one player the Jets saw fail to live up to expectations was Olli Jokinen. The Jets signed the veteran forward to a two-year, $9 million deal in the summer of 2012, and his lackluster play in 2013 certainly doesn’t justify a contract with that.
The Jets have many free agents to deal with this summer, and having a bunch of their money tied up in Jokinen isn’t going to help matters. Jokinen scored seven goals and had 14 points while playing in 45 games for the Jets this season. He also finished as a team-worst minus-19 and managed only one power play point. He could be a prime candidate for a summer buyout as the Jets have too many promising young players that deserve a shot before Jokinen wastes more ice time.
This isn’t the first time Jokinen has failed a team, either. The Calgary Flames traded him to the New York Rangers during the 2009-10 season after he managed only 11 goals in the first 56 games of the season while making $4 million. Only Kane makes more per season among Jets forwards, and given the seasons Ladd and Wheeler had, that can’t sit well in the locker room. While they got some benefit from a veteran presence and leader, hopefully the Jets have learned their lesson when it comes to overpaying for a veteran forward.