Jokinen-Pittsburgh Penguins vs Buffalo SabresPhoto Credit: Joe Sargent/Getty Images
Throughout the 2013-2014 NHL season, I’ll be posting player features each Friday. This week, we’re going to take a look at Jussi Jokinen.
After achieving a hat trick in game three for the Pittsburgh Penguins, you had to see it coming that left wing Jussi Jokinen would be next up for Feature Friday.
Jokinen was born April 1, 1983 in Kalajoki, Finland. Prior to his NHL debut, he played for Kärpät of the SM-liiga (Finnish league). During the 2001 NHL Entry Draft, he went to the Dallas Stars as a 6th round draft pick (192nd overall). While a rookie, he was quick to gain a great reputation with shootouts. Throughout his career, he has had a total of 30 shootout goals.
In February 2008, Jokinen went to the Tampa Bay Lightning. A year later after being placed on waivers, he went to the Carolina Hurricanes, eventually signing a two-year $3.4 million contract in June 2009. With the Canes, In April 2009, Jokinen shined in game 4 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the New Jersey Devils. He scored a game-winning goal on a deflection with just 0.2 seconds left in the third, progressing the team to the Conference Semifinals.
It was a little under a year ago that the Canes decided to get rid of the left wing after a slow start to the season. Part of the deal was that the Hurricanes would retain $900,000 of the $3 million. This arguably could be one of GM Ray Shero’s smartest moves by getting the Canes to retain cap space on his contract.
Jokinen quickly became a treasure for the Penguins, scoring 11 points throughout 10 regular season games in 2012-2013. Playing his former team on Tuesday night clearly gave him that edge to successfully pull off a hat trick. Technically, the Canes paid him to get that hat trick. Let that sink in.
“I won’t even try to deny it,” said Jokinen to Raleigh News & Observer’s Chip Alexander. “It’s always extra motivation when you play against your former team.”
Along with shootouts, Jokinen also excels in faceoffs. He typically lacks strength in the offensive zone, but that wasn’t the case when it came to facing Carolina.
So far, he has scored 10 goals in the 13 regular season games with the Penguins, which makes him quite a steal for the team.