We all know about Olli Jokinen’s coming of age after four seasons in the NHL with under 30 points – he’s been a solid 60 to 75 point player ever since. But there’s another Jokinen who is making an impact in a somewhat expedited manner.
Jussi Jokinen certainly didn’t take a page out of Olli’s book. He’s become an offensive (read: fantasy) player right off the hop. His 16 points in 23 games are good for fifth in rookie scoring, behind the much more heralded Sidney Crosby, Alexander Ovechkin, Marek Svatos, and Thomas Vanek. At 114th in NHL scoring, the ‘other’ Jokinen would be on the pro team in most hockey pools.
After being drafted in the sixth round (192nd overall) by the Dallas Stars in 2001, Jokinen, who is no relation to Olli, has seen his stock go nowhere but up. His goal totals in the Finnish League read like a statistician’s dream – 10, 14, 15, 23 – in that order. Poolies like prospects with neat production curves like that.
The offensive skills were there and the only question mark on Jokinen heading into training camp was whether he would be able to beat out fellow prospect Loui Eriksson for a spot on the big squad.
The answer, quite obviously, was yes, which led to the follow-up question: would he get ice time or flounder on the fourth line? The answer to that one isÂ…both.
Jokinen’s ice time is less than 14 minutes per game, but he has seen a lot of time on the power play and has logged a lot of his minutes on the top line with Mike Modano and Jere Lehtinen. His ice time will increase as the year wears on and with it will go his production.
It was nine games into the season before he played more than 14 minutes, but Jokinen has picked up six points in his last six games. Look for him to wind up the season with around 65 points and wind up consistently in the 75-85 point mark through much of his careerÂ…
Speaking of rookies, the much-heralded San Jose rookie Milan Michalek is pointless in eleven games. His nine points this season are just one more than his lesser-known brother, defenseman Zbynek Michalek of the Phoenix CoyotesÂ…
Ladislav Nagy of the Coyotes has 13 points in his last eight games and if he plays 80 games this year could take a real run at the 100-point plateau and finally escape from his ‘underrated’ status.
Injuries, from a fantasy pool perspective: Peter Forsberg’s groin injury will keep him out of two more games, which may hurt Simon Gagne’s production temporarily and definitely will hurt Mike Knuble’s production. You may want to reserve those two players as wellÂ…Patrik Elias, after being ordered by doctors to cease skating last week, has yet to go back on the ice. His end of December return is in jeopardy and New Jersey’s Scott Gomez will continue to watch his production suffer as a result of his linemate’s continued absence.
Farm Report: Ilkka Pikkarainen, New Jersey’s seventh round pick (218th overall) in 2002, has six points in his last four games for Albany of the AHL. Pikkarainen had been projected as a fourth line role player in the NHL, but his solid season and recent offensive touch could see the 24-year-old as a 50-point third-liner. He has some potential as an antagonist, which would be useful for his PIM’s. At his age he’d better get to the NHL soon thoughÂ…Anaheim blue-chipper Corey Perry is clearly beyond what the AHL has to offer as his eight points in four games for Portland has shown so far.
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