Will Olli Jokinen Return Next Season?
One of the better things Glen Sather has done recently was moving Scott Gomez’s big salary, a problem he himself created, but he made up for that nice move with the boneheaded signing of Ales Kotalik. Then he managed to make up for that mistake by dealing Kotalik and Chris Higgins to Calgary for Olli Jokinen.
Despite Jokinen’s past success, the deal wasn’t meant, at least it wasn’t perceived by many, as a deal to upgrade the Rangers roster. Instead it was perceived to probably get rid of the second year of Kotalik’s two-year deal.
This offseason we’ll see if Sather meant the deal as strictly a salary dump or his attempt at upgrading a mediocre roster if he attempts to re-sign Jokinen.
So far Jokinen hasn’t been a complete flop for the Rangers, but he hasn’t been nearly as successful on Broadway as in some of his past years, only scoring 10 points and two goals over 16 games. Is that good enough to warrant interest in bringing him back? Hopefully the answer is no.
In Jokinen’s best days as an offensive force he would score close to 40 goals per season, but over the last two seasons, and certainly since he joined the Rangers, we have not seen him come anywhere close to that production.
In addition there is the fact that this Rangers team seems stuck in neutral while Jokinen earned $5.25 million this season, and it all makes me believe that they are much better off without him.
It’s possible that he could be interested in returning on a much smaller contract, but coming off a $5.25 million per year deal it’s hard to imagine he’d accept an offer for $2 million or less.
This means the Rangers would probably be better off passing and instead spend the money on defense and/or a playmaker with whom to match Marian Gaborik.
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