Check PHT each weekday for the first four weeks of June for a new pending unrestricted free agent of the day. Today’s UFA of the Day is…
A little over a year ago, it didn’t even look like Jokinen was a lock to get another NHL contract by the time his three-year, $9 million deal expired.
The Carolina Hurricanes soured on him during the shortened 2013 campaign, but there were no takers when they put Jokinen on waivers. They eventually dumped him on Pittsburgh for a conditional seventh-round pick after agreeing to retain $900,000 annually of his cap hit.
That proved to be a steal for the Penguins as he went on to score 21 goals and 57 points in 81 contests in 2013-14. He carried that success into the playoffs where he added another seven goals and 10 points in 11 contests, including three game-winning markers.
The 31-year-old forward likely won’t be the most intriguing option when the free agent period starts, but he’s a capable top-six forward and a potentially more cost effective alternative to Thomas Vanek or Matt Moulson.
That being said, Jokinen’ comeback season featured him frequently playing alongside Evgeni Malkin and James Neal. Any team that signs him likely won’t be able to offer him that caliber of linemates to work with and his production might decline as a result.
As for how interested the Penguins are interested in re-signing him, it’s hard to say until they hire a new general manager. Currently, they’re in the process of interviewing candidates.