Jussi Jokinen’s proving he’s still an impact player

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It wasn’t that long ago that all 30 NHL teams came to this simple consensus: Jussi Jokinen isn’t worth his contract.

Jokinen was waived by the Carolina Hurricanes on March 26, but no team was willing to assume his $3 million annual cap hit through the 2013-14 campaign.

In the end the Penguins agree to give Carolina a conditional pick if they retained some of Jokinen’s salary and cap hit.

The Penguins should be grateful that the Hurricanes were so desperate to get rid of the 30-year-old forward.

Jokinen has stepped up with three goals and five points in three contests with Pittsburgh. With James Neal and Sidney Crosby sidelined, that offensive outburst has helped keep the Penguins winning and on the path to the first seed in the Eastern Conference.

Jokinen is a former 30-goal scorer, but he fell out of favor in Carolina due to the additions of Jordan Staal and Alexander Semin and rise of Riley Nash. He consequently saw his playing time and production drop.

He might never rebound back to his 2009-10 levels, when he had 65 points in 82 games, but the Penguins don’t need him to. They got him in the hopes that he’d be a solid forward that would provide them with some more depth going into the playoffs.

So far he’s been that and more.