Olli Jokinen Playing More Like Olli “Jokingnen”

Cameron PaulCorrespondent IFebruary 17, 2009

Excuse me for my lame title but I feel that Jokinen’s play this year for the Phoenix Coyotes has been nothing short of a joke.

When Phoenix acquired Jokinen at the draft from Florida, I was overjoyed. Finally the Coyotes had a legit first line centerman.

Now I wish we could go back in time and make sure that trade never happened. The Coyotes gave up two great defensemen in Keith Ballard and Nick Boynton. Both are enjoying great seasons with the Panthers.

At 30 years of age, Olli Jokinen should be entering the prime of his career; he should not be on the decline. At his best, Jokinen can and has shown he is capable of being a 90-plus point scorer. The Panthers weren’t the best of teams, either.

Jokinen hasn’t even recorded a goal in the month of February. He’s currently on pace for barely 50 points. That is a 20-point decrease from a mediocre 2007-08 season with the Panthers.

If Jokinen continues on the pace he is on, he will record his lowest point totals since the 20001-02, when he recorded just 29 points.

I’m not quite sure why he isn’t producing like I, and most others, thought he would. Maybe you could say it is the lack of talent on the Coyotes roster, but that wasn’t a problem in Florida. Maybe it’s taking him time to mesh with his teammates, but more than halfway into the season you would think he has had enough time.

There are a couple of legit reasons why he might be struggling. The first is that the Coyotes play a system that may not suit the style that Jokinen plays. The second is that he doesn’t play the Southeast Division anymore.

The Southeast Division was and probably still is one of the weaker divisions in the NHL. The Pacific Division, on the other hand, is one of the best if not the best in the NHL. He can no longer pile up the points on weaker teams like Atlanta and Tampa Bay.

With the trade deadline fast approaching, Jokinen’s name has appeared in numerous trade rumors. Although it may seem early to trade Jokinen, the Coyotes are quickly fading out of the playoff picture.

Unless they have confidence that Jokinen will improve his production this and next season, then the time is now to trade him. They should be able to get an excellent return who can help the Coyotes now and in the future.