Tag: Olli Jokinen

Daniel Winnik

Report: Leafs looking for two picks for Winnik


The Toronto Maple Leafs began what could be a very busy trade season for them by sending Cody Franson and Mike Santorelli to the Nashville Predators on Sunday in exchange for Olli Jokinen, Brendan Leipsic and a 2015 first-round draft pick. There’s plenty of speculation that Daniel Winnik will be one of the next Toronto players to be dealt, but nothing appears to be imminent, according to TSN and ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.

That’s because no one has met Toronto’s asking price yet and the team is willing to wait. The Maple Leafs don’t expect to add another first rounder in a Winnik deal, but they are looking for second and third-round picks. An alternative would be a second rounder plus a prospect.

Winnik has six goals and 23 points in 55 games this season. He also has a team-high plus-14 rating, which is impressive given that Toronto only has five players that are even above neutral, including Santorelli’s plus-seven rating with Toronto. Winnik’s similarly solid from an analytics perspective as the team has a 48.4 5-on-5 Fenwick% when he’s on the ice compared to the Leafs’ 45.5% when he’s not playing.

He’s eligible to become an unrestricted free agent this summer after completing his one-year, $1.3 million contract.

Loading up: Predators acquire Franson, Santorelli from Leafs

Detroit Red Wings v Toronto Maple Leafs

The Nashville Predators opened up a healthy lead ahead of the rest of the NHL on Saturday and then threw down the gauntlet on Sunday.

In a big trade, the Predators acquired Cody Franson and Mike Santorelli from the Toronto Maple Leafs for Olli Jokinen, Brendan Leipsic and Nashville’s 2015 first-round draft pick.

One interesting twist to this move is that both Franson and Santorelli will already have some familiarity with their situation, as they both played for the Predators before.

The Predators selected Franson, 27, with the 79th pick of the 2005 NHL Draft. He showed promise in his first two seasons with Nashville before being traded to Toronto in a package that also highlighted Matthew Lombardi.

(Let’s just say the Maple Leafs came out on top in that one.)

In a shallow free agent market, Franson is one of the most desirable defensive targets. Toronto couldn’t come to terms with him, and it remains to be seen if Nashville can (or even aims to). In the interim, the Predators’ already-loaded defense adds another dangerous scoring threat.

The Predators selected Santorelli, 29, with a sixth-round pick (178th overall) in 2004. He’s bounced around the league a bit, yet his efforts stood out on a troubled Toronto team.

From Toronto’s perspective, the best parts of the trade are focused on the future. More specifically, the Predators’ first-round pick is likely the gem of this deal, even if it’s probably going to be a late selection.

Brendan Leipsic was the 89th pick of the 2012 Draft. The 20-year-old’s the other main takeway for Toronto, as he’s shown some potential with 35 points in 47 AHL games and some big WHL numbers.

Jokinen provides some veteran experience, yet he was often lost in the Nashville mix. Apparently joining the Buds hasn’t improved his mood.

To little surprise, it sounds like the Maple Leafs still have some work to do, as multiple reporters point to Daniel Winnik as another target for contenders.

It’s easy to see where both teams are coming from here, with the Leafs continuing to build for 2015-16 (and beyond) while the Predators hope for the deepest run in franchise history.

Fisher ‘definitely’ wants to re-sign in Nashville

Mike Fisher

Last week, an ESPN report claimed the Predators started contract negotiations with veteran centers Mike Ribeiro and Mike Fisher.

This week, Fisher expressed his desire to stick in Nashville.

“I love the city and I love the guys here in the organization,” he explained, per The Tennessean. “It’s been great. Hopefully the business part of things will take care of itself, but I definitely want to be part of it for sure.”

One would think Nashville feels the same way. Fisher, 34, is in the last of a two-year, $8.4 million deal with a $4.2 million cap hit. Though he’s only played 33 games this year due to a ruptured Achilles, Fisher has been great — he’s scored 13 goals and 25 points while averaging 18:23 TOI per night.

(What’s more, Fisher is averaging .76 points per game, the highest total of his 16-year career.)

In terms of their financial future, the Preds should be able to make Fisher a reasonable offer. A hometown discount is definitely on the table — in addition to spending the last five years in Nashville, Fisher’s wife, musician Carrie Underwood, is hugely popular in the city — though it’s worth pointing out the team does have a ton of free agents to deal with this summer.

In addition to Ribeiro and Fisher, the likes of Matt Cullen, Colin Wilson, Craig Smith, Calle Jarnkrok, Olli Jokinen, Gabriel Bourque, Anton Volchenkov and Taylor Beck are all due for new contracts, though it’s safe to assume veterans like Volchenkov, Cullen and Jokinen could be allowed to walk.

The big question with Fisher, it seems, is if he’ll be able to score enough money from Nashville as he would on the open market, where the center position projects to be thin.

Report: World Cup to be announced during all star break

Team USA's Wheeler, Oshie, Orpik and McDonagh celebrate a goal by Mcdonagh against Slovenia during the second period of their men's preliminary round ice hockey game at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics

According to TSN’s Rick Westhead the NHL and NHLPA will announce the return of the world cup of hockey during the NHL all star break, which takes place Jan. 22-26.

Westhead added one of the tweaks to the tournament will include a best-of-three final.

In November Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston reported potential changes to the format.

Rumored changes to the tournament include two all star teams in addition to the top six hockey nations (Canada, U.S., Sweden, Finland, Russia and Czech Republic).

One all star squad will be made up of the best players from Slovakia, Switzerland, Latvia, Germany and Slovenia, among others.

The make-up of the second all star team is yet to be determined.

Last month IIHF president Rene Fasel weighed in on the proposed changes.

“To be very honest, I like the idea. If we go with No. 7 and 8 with normal matching teams, we have that in the Olympics, we have that in the Canada Cup, we have that in the World Championships. Now having this selection. There’s a discussion about having European selection, it would be a great team with non-participating European teams building up a team,” said Fasel. “Then the second one is North American selection. That can be a very interesting for the hockey fans, great. That could be something. It is still an idea. There’s a rumor. We don’t know yet what they’re going to do. Personally, I like it very much.”

Fasel may like it, but players we here at PHT talked to were skeptical.

“It would be hard to play for some kind of different team, but I guess at the same time, a lot of the small countries, they’re producing really good players,” said Olli Jokinen, who’s represented Finland internationally on a number of occasions. “Players like that, a lot of time they don’t get a chance to play tournaments like that.”

Added U.S. Olympian, and Toronto Maple Leafs forward, James van Riemsdyk: “There’s more pride it in, for the players, when you’re representing your country. I think it’s fun when you have the different countries like you have every year in one of these tournaments there’s a big upset and that’s what makes it fun.

“I think it’s more fun when you have the countries (competing).”

Toronto is expected to be one the venues for the 2016 tournament.

Preds put Neal, Nystrom on IR

St Louis Blues v Nashville Predators

Nashville’s forward depth is about to get its biggest test of the season.

On Thursday, the club placed wingers James Neal — who’s missed the last three games with a lower-body injury — and Eric Nystrom on injured reserve, recalling forward Miikka Salomaki from AHL Milwaukee to fill the void.

Neal, who sits second on the team in goals (13), hasn’t played since a 3-2 win over St. Louis on Dec. 30 — a game in which he scored twice. Nystrom, who has nine points in 39 games this year, played 12:50 in Tuesday’s win over Carolina and assisted on Roman Josi’s game-winner in the third period, so it’s unclear exactly what’s ailing him at the moment.

As for Salomaki, he was taken in the second round (52nd overall) of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, but has yet to make his big league debut. The Finnish forward has 16 points in 26 games for Milwaukee this season, and finished fifth among AHL rookies in scoring last year with 50 points.

As mentioned above, the Neal/Nystrom injuries really thin out Nashville’s forward group. During the morning skate in advance of tonight’s tilt versus Dallas, Craig Smith took Neal’s spot on the top line next to Filip Forsberg and Mike Ribeiro, while Salomaki skated on a wing with Calle Jarnkrok and Olli Jokinen.

Colin Wilson, Mike Fisher and Mark Arcobello also rushed together, as did Gabriel Bourque, Paul Gaustad and Viktor Stalberg.