The ‘Canes made a minor move today, picking up Jussi Jokinen (no, not that one who played for Florida and schooled Carolina repeatedly so many moons ago…) in exchange for tough guy Wade Brookbank, AHL D-man Josef Melichar and a fourth-round pick in 2009. This isn’t the blockbuster trade some ‘Canes fans have been calling for because none of the three players have seen extensive ice time this season, but in the early stages, it seems the Hurricanes may have made a steal with this one.
Jokinen, 25, (5’11”, 190 lbs.) has notched 6 goals and 10 assists this season with the floundering Tampa Bay Lightning. The former sixth rounder has spent his entire career with Dallas and Tampa Bay, with 161 points in 281 games. On the heels of a surprising shootout win against the Sharks, the ‘Canes have bulked up their shootout roster significantly; Jokinen used to be quite the specialist for the Stars. Though he has fallen off pace recently – He is only 24th in the league this year with three goals in nine attempts – he remains tied for the all-time lead in shootout goals with Atlanta’s Slava Kozlov.
“Jussi is a skilled, two-positional player that can be used in all situations,” ‘Canes GM Jim Rutherford said in a press release. ‘He will add depth to our team at an important time of the season.”
In further proof that Jim Rutherford is collecting Finnish players like Pokemon cards, he added his third Finn to his roster in less than a year. The Kalajoki native will be joyously conversing with Joni Pitkanen and Tuomo Ruutu in no time. He will join the ‘Canes tonight in Phoenix.
And now, a moment of silence for our departed comrades. Brookbank and Melichar. (…) Jokinen should thank whoever it is he prays to that he is out of the mess that is Tampa Bay. However, at least Brookbank and Melichar will see some ice time now. Brookbank, known to ‘Canes fans for his love for fighting and ability to score the occasional, fluky stunner of a goal, has played only twice during the second coming of Mo, and his most recent cameo was over a month ago. Brookbank watched as Rutherford called up newbie after newbie from Albany instead of allowing the healthy, ready and willing Brookbank to shed the suit and escape the press box. Now, at least, he’ll be able to play. The ‘Canes lost their faith in Melichar early in the season. After enticing him with a one-year deal out of Europe and back into the NHL, the ‘Canes reassigned Melichar early in the season and never called him up again.
The only negatives in this trade are that those two cannot be packaged into a bigger deal closer to the trade deadline, and that Carolina lost some if its valuable team toughness in Brookbank. However, Brookbank wasn’t doing the ‘Canes any good glaring at the other team from the press box. Melichar was a failed experiment for the Hurricanes, and that happens. Jokinen is young, proven, and very good in the shootout, and now that he is being given a chance to play with a team that’s not circling the drain, he could prove to be a very good pick-up.
The ‘Canes will finish up their three-game road trip tonight in Phoenix at 9 p.m. Eric Staal will reportedly be on the roster, but no word as to who is starting in net.