Please Phoenix, Don't Trade Olli Jokinen!!!

Matt ShottContributor IFebruary 27, 2009


As the trade deadline approaches, it is only assumed that the Phoenix Coyotes, who have gone from fifth place in the Western Conference to two points out of last place, will be sellers yet again.  But is this what they really want to do?  Basically tell your fan(s) that you are tossing in the towel for this season and therefore discouraging even more people from coming to the games?

The big name from the Coyotes that is being floated around the rumor mill is prized off-season acquisition Olli Jokinen. Sure, Jokinen is having his worst statistical season since the lockout, but he is going through what is known as The Coyote Curse.

Every big-name player that has come through the Coyotes' organization has had their worst statistical season of their career in their first year with the Coyotes. Remember when the Coyotes signed Tony Amonte in the off-season of 2002 and it was one of the biggest signings that summer?  What happened?  Amonte went from posting at least 60 points in each of his last seven seasons, to only getting 36 points in 56 games for the Coyotes. 

When we signed Brett Hull in the off-season of 2005, he suffered so bad he had to retire.  Other players that suffered it were Cliff Ronning, Mike Ricci, Chris Gratton, and Petr Nedved.  Even Ed Jovanovski had his worst statistical year his first season with the Yotes, but we held on to him and he ended up having his best statistical year the following year.

This is just a phase that Olli is going through, because he has been used as the only go-to guy for so long. With the Coyotes, he is no longer the only person who can actually score, so he doesn’t need to do it on his own.  I truly think we need to give Olli until this time next year to be that player to boost us into the playoffs, and if we are in this same position next year then deal him for some draft picks. 

Olli is a superstar in this league, but just needs to continue getting comfortable with his surroundings. There were reports quoting GM Don Maloney saying that Jokinen was just not a good fit for the Coyotes because they are such a young team.

Uh, the same Jokinen that just tallied 89, 91, and 71 points the previous three years playing with the always-rebuilding young Florida Panthers? Jokinen Is the perfect fit for this team because of his burnig desire to finally taste the playoffs, just like every other Coyotes player. but just needs to come to his senses that he doesn’t need to try so hard to be the only person to score because it is obviously making him struggle. He needs to ease up just a little bit, relax and play with the team because he has a lot of players that can help him become a better player as well. 

Jokinen still has another year left on his contract at a fairly reasonable price for a superstar of his caliber, so why trade him now?  Because his value will be higher, sure, but we will need him in order to make the playoffs if that is really our goal next season.  Now it has also been reported that Maloney won’t just trade Jokinen for a draft pick and prospects, but rather he wants a current NHL-ready player in return. 

So, if an offer comes up such as Jokinen for another scoring winger or forward like Ilya Kovalchuk, or Jokinen for a solid No. 1 defenseman who can put the puck in the net like Dion Phaneuf or Sheldon Souray, then of course why not give it a shot, right?  So I guess I can respect him being available as long as we don’t take garbage back for him like we have been so famous for doing in the past i.e., the Keith Tka-chunk trade or the Tony Amonte trade.

But if we do decide to keep Jokinen for another season and he continues his not-exactly-up-to-par season next year and it is overly obvious that he won’t sign with us that off-season, then the obvious choice is to deal him away at deadline ‘10.  But in the meantime, we need to let Olli redeem himself next season because he was on a roll to start the season until he got hurt for the first time in what apparently was his entire life, and then started to decline. 

But this is my plea to the Phoenix Coyotes management: don't trade Olli Jokinen because if we do ever want to see that beloved White Out in Phoenix, we need a player of Jokinen’s caliber to help guide us there. So for this trade deadline, if I were to wish for one move the Coyotes don’t do, it is DO NOT TRADE OLLI JOKINEN.

As for the rest of the squad and what to do with them, Derek Morris, Steve Reinprecht and Ken Klee are all impending unrestricted free agents this summer, so they will be the other likely candidates to be traded. Obviously, the major role we need filled is secondary scoring and Reinprecht has not provided that for us too much this year, so maybe swap him with a selling team along with a pick for a scoring winger. 

For example, maybe swap Rhino and a second-round pick for a player like Marek Svatos from Colorado, or possibly for another solid defenseman, like Nick Havelid from Atlanta.  Swap impending UFAs to fill spots for both teams.

Atlanta needs everything, but mainly some extra scoring and we need, well same thing, but also some more depth at the blue line.  Nik Antropov is another player I wouldn’t mind seeing the Coyotes make a move for, as he can fill that spot of the big player to muck it up in front of the net for power plays, so we don’t have to use “Oh-No” Jovo as that player.  But if the asking price is too much, they should back away. 

Derek Morris has claimed that he wants to remain in Phoenix, but who is to say we can’t do what the Blues and Keith Tka-chunk did two seasons ago by trading him and just resigning him in the offseason?  I wouldn’t mind dealing Morris to Buffalo for Tim Connelly, as Buffalo has had interest apparently in Morris and are also willing to trade the fragile Connelly if it gets them what they need. 

The Coyotes have never really been big dealers at the trade deadline, but it appears this year could be completely different and as I sit here writing this, I can’t help but plead with the organization to just allow Olli Jokinen to redeem himself next season because he is a competitor and wants to taste the playoffs more than anything.

It can be seen in how hard he skates night in and night out. So with the other players, it doesn’t make much of an impact on me if we trade them because they are impending free agents, so if we run the risk of losing them, then we might as well trade them a get a little something, something for them, right?

But with Olli, we have another whole year left to get everything out of him that we can, so let’s press our luck with the Joker and hope he overcomes the dreaded Coyote Curse.