Jussi Jokinen is among 10 other unrestricted free agents the Pittsburgh Penguins won’t be extending offers to this offseason. Some of Pittsburgh’s UFAs need to be let go, while others have proven to be pivotal players and should be fought for.
Jokinen is one of them.
Shortly after being placed on waivers by the Carolina Hurricanes in early 2013, Jokinen was picked up by the Penguins. During Jokinen’s debut game with the Penguins, he scored Pittsburgh’s only goal in regulation and then went on to score their only goal during the shootout, which brought his new team to an exciting 2-1 victory over the New York Rangers.
It was in that moment that all of Pittsburgh fell in love with who they now call “Juicy J.”
Ever since Jokinen’s first game with the Penguins, he has been a continuous shinning star. Jokinen, who is versatile in all roles as a forward, even filled in for Sidney Crosby after he took a puck to the mouth that destroyed his lower jaw.
In the first 10 regular season games Jokinen played with the Penguins, he scored seven goals and accumulated four assists for a total of 11 points. During Jokinen’s second and most recent year with the Penguins, he placed fourth in points, scoring 21 goals and accumulating 36 assists for a total of 57 points.
Aside from Jokinen’s versatility and exceptional goal scoring ability, he is also a talented skater and rarely makes any mistakes when handling the puck. Jokinen has also developed a deep chemistry with his teammates, especially fellow linemate Evgeni Malkin, who just lost his other linemate, James Neal, to a draft day trade.
For the Penguins, the 2014 offseason is all about roster reform and getting their salary cap under control, which is one of the reasons why Jim Rutherford is letting so many players go. But Rutherford really needs to sit down and think about some of the players he’s willing to give up and why, especially the team’s shootout king.