When you explain a signing, sometimes the simple explanation is the way to go.
That probably was the plan for the Edmonton Oilers in selling the dirt-cheap signing of Jussi Jokinen; the belief is that, as a fellow Finn (and more), he’ll be able to “mentor” Jesse Puljujarvi.
It’s not just shared nationality, either, as the two have already bonded, as the Edmonton Journal notes.
“I’ve been practicing with Jesse for three years in the summer,” Jokinen said. “I know all about him, his potential. He’s still a young guy, learning how to be an NHL player. Hopefully, I’ll be able to help him.”
The thing is, Jokinen may bring his greatest value in a more tangible – if drier – way.
Along with still being effective in the shootout role that earned him reps earlier in his career, Jokinen might be the kind of sneaky-effective two-way player that a team with bigger aspirations (aka the Oilers) needs to compete when every shift matters.
Some believe that he’s honestly worth the $4 million the Panthers bought him out at, let alone the $1.1 million he’ll receive.
And, hey, he’s not that far removed from highly impressive, more-obvious success; Jokinen scored 60 points in 2015-16 (before 28 last season, when injuries were an issue for almost every Panthers forward).
As this post notes, the Oilers’ ceiling may rise or fall depending upon how well GM Peter Chiarelli adds bargain supporting cast members to slam-dunk choices like high-end picks. Sometimes that might mean finding gems in the draft, and sometimes that means picking up veterans who are likely worth more than they might seem.
Jokinen appears to fit in that latter category, and hey, it can’t hurt if he also brings Puljujarvi under his wing, too.