An actual hockey trade. In November. They don’t happen very often.
This wasn’t a major move, and neither player will be looked upon to be a difference maker for his new team, yet any trade in the NHL is a welcome topic of conversation.
Let’s look at the trade.
The 34-year-old Jussi Jokinen had one point in 14 games. He never looked comfortable in Edmonton and he looked slower than I expected. Maybe he simply can’t keep up in today’s game, or his lack of confidence and comfort had him thinking more than reacting. I expected more than one point in 14 games from him, and I’m certain most of you did as well. I can’t recall one person ripping the Oilers for signing Jokinen. It seemed like a low risk signing at $1.1 million for one year.
He was coming off the second-lowest point total of his career, 28 points, last year so I wasn’t expecting 50 or 60 points, but I thought he could add more offence than he showed.
Mike Cammalleri signed a one-year deal, $1 million base salary, with the Kings, which includes a $200,000 bonus if he scores 20 goals and the team makes the playoffs. He got the bonus because he turned 35 in June. He had three goals and seven points with the Kings, and all seven points came in three games. He had 2-2-4 vs. Montreal on October 18th, an assist three nights later at Columbus and 1-1-2 on November 2nd vs. Toronto.
Cammalleri has been a better scorer in his career. In 855 games he’s scored 290 goals and 620 points. Jokinen has 186 goals and 547 points in 905 games.
But, both of them are in the twilight of their careers.
Cammalleri is more offensive, while Jokinen is theoretically more versatile, can play wing and centre, and more reliable defensively. I say theoretically, because the footspeed he showed with the Oilers makes me question if he can effectively play centre now. We’ll see.
The Kings wanted a more defensive player, while the Oilers wanted a shooter. I understand why both sides made the deal, but I’m not expecting Cammalleri to be a major impact player. If he can chip in a few goals then the deal will be worth it for Edmonton.
I reached out to a scout who has watched the majority of the Kings games this year and he said this about Cammalleri.
“He didn’t really fit with what they needed. His even strength minutes were getting reduced. Like Jokinen he looked slow at times, but when he is open he still has a lethal shot.”
I see this a low-risk move for Chiarelli. Jokinen wasn’t doing much and I don’t see him suddenly having a massive breakout with the Kings. If Cammalleri can add a few timely goals, and use his shot on the second unit powerplay then the deal makes sense.
Part of me wonders if this deal signifies Anton Slepyshev might be out for more than a few weeks. Slepyshev is a top-nine winger and while he plays the right side, I could see Drake Caggiula sliding over to the right side, adding Cammalleri in the lineup and taking out Iiro Pakarinen. Pakarinen and Malone are the extra forwards on my team until Slepyshev returns.
Cammalleri has averaged 2.76 shots/game over his career, while Jokinen fires 1.7 shots/game.
However, through 15 games this year Cammalleri has only 1.6 shots/game. And he had 2.3, 2.4 and 2.29 dating back the past three seasons. He doesn’t get in position to shoot as much as he used to and I wonder how much of that is due to footspeed.
Jokinen on the other hand has been able to maintain his shot/game the past four seasons. He was at 1.57 this year, but 1.71, 1.88 and 1.65 the previous three seasons.
Cammalleri is not a checker and won’t kill penalties, but should help the powerplay. He had 104 powerplay goals in his career. Of his 620 career points, 244 have come on the man advantage. He should get a look immediately on the second unit.
Jujhar Khaira suddenly looks like the player we saw in preseason. He is using his size and speed to create chances and he now has three points in his last two games. “He is showing the coaching staff he wants to stay in the lineup. We have noticed. He’s had two really strong games,” said Todd McLellan. Finding consistency and then maintaining it is the biggest challenge for young players. Khaira has never been able to find his comfort zone in the NHL, but he was excellent in the preseason, and if he can continue to play like he has recently it will be a huge boost to the bottom six for the Oilers.
Our second annual Oilers/Flames road trip extravaganza happens Saturday, December 2nd. We only have 14 seats remaining. Jason Strudwick and I will be hosting the bus. It was a blast last year. Oilers fans loved it, especially when the Oilers crushed the Phlegms 7-4. All the details for the trip are here. Call Heather to reserve your seat. It is a blast. You’ll have a great time. Sign up before it is sold out.
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