Since the day he left the Oilers organization, I’ve been waiting for the team to acquire another Fernando Pisani. The man who played a heroic role in the SCF against Carolina in 2006 brought a lot to the game. He was a quality mentor for young forwards, including names like Jarrett Stoll and Raffi Torres in their early years. He could also score a little at 5×5, a very difficult thing to do:
- 05-06 5×5 per 60: 1.84
- 06-07 5×5 per 60: 1.39
- 07-08 5×5 per 60: 1.55
- 08-09 5×5 per 60: 1.82
One of the things Pisani was able to do is score reasonably well at even strength, a discipline that the Oilers are not especially effective in these days. Pisani’s 1.82/60 in 2008-09 placed him No. 2 among Oilers regulars that season (behind Ales Hemsky).
In his most recent season with the Florida Panthers, Jussi Jokinen did not reach the levels managed by Fernando Pisani, but he has been a superior player historically at 5×5.
- 05-06 5×5 per 60: 1.75
- 06-07 5×5 per 60: 1.93
- 15-16 5×5 per 60: 2.23
- 16-17 5×5 per 60: 0.94
When looking at his most recent season (and considering his current age, 34) I think we should have some hesitation about Jokinen playing a feature role offensively. It could happen, but counting on the Finn to deliver more than two points for every 60 5×5 minutes of ice time is perhaps aggressive based on his 2016-17 season in Florida.
The exciting thing for me about the Jokinen addition is his possible role as mentor. We’ve read a lot about his relationship with Jesse Puljujarvi, and that connection alone may be worth many more millions than the $1.1 million contract signed by Jokinen for the coming season.
What about other youngsters he could help? Anton Slepyshev? Ryan Strome? Hell, maybe he forms a deadly two-way combination with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins?
I’m seeing some projections of Jokinen as a third-line checker and some as a top 6F who will hold back the kids. I don’t see either as being probable. It’s more likely (to me) that Jussi Jokinen moves up and down the lineup as needed, but serves as mentor and complement to these young Oilers forwards.
This could be the smartest money spent this summer, and my guess is we’ll see Jokinen on the top line, the checking line, the kid line and both special teams. Suspect we’ll love him by Christmas and we may be wondering if the Oilers might be wise to add another forward with his kind of utility.