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Jokinen ‘wanted to start playing tomorrow’ after talk with Laviolette

Jul 6, 2014, 3:35 PM EDT

Olli Jokinen Getty Images

When the Nashville Predators signed Olli Jokinen to a one-year contract, it gave the Preds an offensive player up the middle the team was sorely lacking.

While the Preds aren’t exactly a team known for its goal scoring, Jokinen said there was one major factor that led him to sign there: New head coach Peter Laviolette. As Joshua Cooper of The Tennessean shares, that was all the motivation the 35-year-old Finn needed.

“Obviously with the excitement and the passion about the game and ideas of how he was going to coach this team, that was one of the biggest reasons I decided to come here,” Jokinen said. “Speaking with him, I got excited. I wanted to start playing tomorrow.”

Last season with the Winnipeg Jets, Jokinen had 18 goals and 43 points. If you put those numbers on last season’s Predators team, he would’ve been fifth on the squad in goals and points.

With the addition of James Neal to the team, the Preds are in need of someone to get him the puck to score goals. Jokinen will have competition to do that with Mike Fisher and Craig Smith, but he has an established career of setting other players up. Just ask Jarome Iginla from his days in Calgary.

Mixing in Laviolette’s brand of hockey could help all parties involved to boost their numbers. Having to do it in an obscenely loaded Central Division won’t make it easy.

  1. sgs32 - Jul 6, 2014 at 4:18 PM

    good PR stunt by Jokinen, then on the other hand, he should put up some points for Preds with a bigger role than he had in Winnipeg

  2. mcphillthy - Jul 6, 2014 at 6:40 PM

    Good addition for the preds and nice PR statement from jokinen. I am honestly excited to see what lavy can do with this team. I think he was the perfect hire but the preds still have a looooooooong way to go to remain competitive in that division

  3. scrouch - Jul 6, 2014 at 7:14 PM

    It’s good that Laviolette is getting his player excited but he’s going to take a team with some good players but nowhere near the depth of most teams in their conference, let alone their division, an shave them open the game up offensively? In the central division? That can work when you have one of the deepest offensive teams in the league in a conference where teams play pretty wide open anyways like the Flyers were when they were winning with him. But they had 3 lines that could have been first lines on a lot of teams so when you have just a lot more talent, you’ll often come out ahead when trading chances. The Western Conference is a whole different animal. Add to that they are in the toughest division in the league where everyone aside from maybe the Jets has a far better roster, and teams play a much more structured game that can dismantle teams that take too many chances. Once Philly’s talent level started to drop and they would have needed some structure to compete, his style didn’t adapt and they got smoked and fired him. When he was hired with Nashville I thought that he would have had a different game plan than just trying the same thing with an even worse skill disadvantage than what he had by the end in Philly. Trotz had a system based on the players he was given and was able to stay competitive he was never given a very strong roster. But they played hard and had great structure and didn’t give the opposition many chances. That’s really the only way to go when you’ll be on the losing end if you trade chances against almost everyone in the conference, even with Rinne healthy.

    If Laviolette’s plan is to have them play a more open offensive system, I think Nashville’s just going to get crushed and he’ll be out of a job very quickly. And if you’re playing too open of a game, you can’t play your top defensive pairing over 25 minutes a night and they don’t have the depth defensively to not really lean on them. Some other good talent that’s going to be very good in the future, just don’t think they’re there yet. I just don’t see how that system would work at all for them.

  4. skuba7 - Jul 6, 2014 at 11:30 PM

    Good for both the player and team, and the contract is fantastic for the Predators.
    Jokinen will outscore every FA Center signed this offseason, outside of Stastny.

  5. zoojersey - Jul 7, 2014 at 3:00 PM

    “Jokinen will outscore every FA Center signed this offseason, outside of Stastny.”

    Possibly, but won’t be easy, his competition are not pushovers:

    David Legwand
    Brad Richards
    Michail Grabovski
    Mike Cammalleri

  6. pjblake2redwings - Jul 7, 2014 at 5:28 PM

    looks like he wont have to compete with Fisher anymore now that he is out for 6 months

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