Aftermath of Jokinen Debacle, What's to Follow?

In less than one week, the climax of the off-season begins. Excited, are you not? Let’s rewind a little bit, though.

The Jokinen trade; why he was traded? I’ll tell you why. And, is Jay-Bo to follow?Well my fellow hockey fans, my MBA term is finally over and I can concentrate on hockey full-time. I had a nice birthday two days ago. Well, not entirely since I had an exam due that night and I ended up studying most of the day, but I got some cool hockey stuff, and the Zune! This little gadget (Microsoft’s iPod version) is one great gift. I personalized it with art work that you can have engraved on its back. Definitely worth every penny.

Anyway, old mikster is back into talking hockey!

The Olli Jokinen Segment

I spent some time mulling over ths trade. At first I was disappointed, then somewhat please, then dubious, but now feeling positive about it. Let’s make this clear, was this a good trade? Honestly, on paper it was not the best of trades. Definitely not as bad as the Luongo trade, but it was too little for my tastes. Olli Jokinen should have brought more to the Panthers. And you know what? That goes both ways. What do I mean by that? Well, Olli should have brought more to the Panthers as a traded player, but also as a player wearing the Panthers jersey. Still don’t get it? Let’s expand.

The Trade

Nick Boynton is a solid, physical defenseman. Keith Ballard is a skilled two-way defenseman with a physical edge as well, and potential. I like both players. I’d take these two players on many teams any day of the week. Sure, Boynton was on waivers, but he had a bad injury history at the time, not a small contract, and teams had reasons not to claim him on waivers. Put him on waivers after the kind of season he’s had and half the league would put in waiver wire claims to get him. He is a character guy, a real battler. Keith Ballard is an excellent skater with a physical edge. He has offensive potential and plays without fear. He does not back down from bigger forwards. In fact, he actually drops the gloves with them as he did with Vinny Lecavalier once, and did well. Here is another character defenseman who is also a battler and does anything to win. As Darren Pang said, he plays every one of his shifts as if it was his last one.

So, the players are good and there is no question about that. Both are exactly what the Panthers need. Skilled defensemen that are competitive and full of character. Here comes the BUT, though. But, Olli Jokinen has the ability to be a top 10 forward in the league. He has played center and many times on the wing. He is versitile. He can be physical. He has a great skill level. Such a player should bring more than two defensemen to a team when traded. The Panthers should have gotten more in this deal. No question about it.

The player himself

People make the mistake that ever since Jacques Martin arrived in Sunrise, things went the wrong way with Olli Jokinen. WRONG. Jokinen played spectacular hockey under Martin BEFORE Mike Keenan was fired. Ever since Mike Keenan was fired, Olli Jokinen was no longer the same. He was not as determined. He was not as physical sometimes when he should have been. It was almost as if Tomas Vokoun was the real leader of the team as he was the most vocal. Olli Jokinen showed little passion whenever the team played horrible hockey. He didn’t come out, ever, saying his teammates have to step it up. Vokoun did that. It seemed as if Olli Jokinen was not even the captain anymore. And when that happened, things went downhill. He even questioned his role as a captain saying that if someone else can do a better job, he’d leave the leadership post.

Okay, first of all, what kind of captain would ever say that? I mean, this is the guy who took over the team as “The Captain”. He earned that C on his jersey by being strong in all areas. Yet he let things go and backed down. What kind of captain really does that? I can understand when someone like Patrick Elias was given the C and he declined to keep it. I can understand when Mike Modano did it. These guys stepped up and said “we can’t be true captains” after they gave a short-term shot at it. Jokinen was the captain for years and all the sudden he shrugged showing the “anybody else wants to take over?” attitude. To put it simply, Olli Jokinen quit on the Panthers. He had to be traded. There was no reason to keep a moody Olli Jokinen on the team.

I admired Olli Jokinen ever since I moved to Florida. I felt quite disappointed with the way he handled this season as a captain. At times I wished that the NHL would change this stupid rule that goaltenders cannot be captains because Vokoun was taking over the role of a leader. I would have traded Olli Jokinen myself this summer. He was no longer a powerful forward in all areas of the ice. He was horrible defensively. He didn’t create as much offensively. He left his leadership post. Why the hell would anyone want such a player on his team? In addition, Olli growing older at 29, 30 soon. He had two more seasons on his contract and no way that he would have thought about re-signing. Olli Jokinen had to be traded in the most unfortunate manner.

What is Phoenix getting then? Definitely not the Olli Jokinen of this past season’s Panthers. The Yotes are getting a refreshed Olli who has no pressure of being a captain. Expect Jokinen to have an excellent season in Phoenix as they desperately needed a winger with Radim Vrbata leaving for the market next week. Jokinen over Vrbata? ANY DAY OF THE WEEK! Yet, does this mean that the Coyotes will make the playoffs? Don’t bet on it. They just lost two of their top four defensemen. Their defense was better than four teams that made the playoffs. So, while they addressed scoring on the right-wing, by really actually substituting, they lost two key defensemen. Expect Phoenix to try and sign defensemen in the off-season, quite possibly J-M Liles and Brooks Orpik. Actually, the Coyotes kinda HAVE to acquire defensemen of such level because if they don’t then they will not make the playoffs. If they don’t make the playoffs, it would be another year added on Olli’s record of not making a playoff appearance. And, would that impact his decisions on re-signing with the Coyotes? The Coyotes have two years to complete their team, or else they will lose Olli Jokinen. And if that is the case, was it worth losing two core defensemen for a two-year plan? Time will tell.

Speaking of which, what will happen to Jay Bouwmeester? I did not like Luongo getting traded, but his attitude was aggrevating and his dishonesty over contract negotiations was a major turn off. Still, blame Mike Keenan for starting it all. I did not want Olli Jokinen to be traded, but quitting on the team as a captain is counter productive, especially when you have a new coach. Yet, for Jay-Bo….. PLEASE TRADE HIM! As skilled as he is, with such great size, the guy is simply not that good. He is very inconsistent, he has little determination. No character. No passion. Does not stand up for himself or his teammates even. Really, in my five years in Florida, I do not remember once when Jay dropped his gloves. Not once. He backs down from physicality. Now, this guy has the potential to be a Norris Trophy winner. He has the potential to be the next Scotty Niedermeyer. Yet, he lacks that drive. He lacks the passion. Frankly, I can’t stand young players that do that. This guy will never reach his potential in South Florida.

Why?

He wants to be in the spotlight. I won’t even say that it’s about winning, or even about Olli Jokinen. This guy was never meant to be a Florida Panther. He would rather play for the Edmonton Oilers finishing a season in the last five spots in the NHL than to play with the Panthers finishing a few points behind the 8th seed.

So you know what? Please trade him. The Panthers need character players. They need competitors. Players that are hungry and want to win. Jay Bouwmeester is not that kind of players; not for the Panthers. If he is to be traded, expect the Blackhawks, Oilers, Devils, Islanders, and crapload of other teams looking to get him.

For all I know, this is a new era for the Panthers. A fresh, young head coach who seems very determined. Two new defensemen that give much depth on the team. No more Olli Jokinen, so who will wear the C? It’s said that Stephen Weiss will be the one getting it. What about free agents? They definitely need a top six forward. More youth on the way? Finally the Panthers have their own AHL affiliate team in Rochester. That’s a big step into developing young talent. Shawn Matthias may make the team. Michal Frolik is soon to make the big step in the NHL, but probably in need of AHL action. Same with Repik. Ken McArdle is also looking for his first full season in the AHL. More youth is coming to South Florida, in a better system.

The Panthers have the goaltending. They have the defense. In theory, you build a team from the back end and on forward. Martin got his goalie, Tomas Vokoun who had a very good season. He has a defensive core of Allen, Van Ryn, Ballard, Boynton, and pending situation with Jay Bouwmeester. If your defense, and goaltending, is solid, then you have a chance to win any game of the week.

The Panthers may once again make the headlines this summer if Jay Bouwmeester is traded, or if a team tenders an offer sheet, which may come next week as well. How crazy would that be? Still, I expect a team to make such an offer sheet, but not so astronomical either. If the offer sheet is anything under $7M p/y, the Panthers will match it. Anything over that, and they won’t, and stupid would be the GM to offer more than $7M and lose four first rounders.

All I know is that GM Jacques Martin is not done yet. He can’t be done yet. He has to make the playoffs and to do so, he has to be busy this summer. Keep your eyes open in South Florida my fellow hockey fans.

And my final word is…..

I also got The Offspring’s new album titled Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace. I’ve always been an Offspring fan, even through their pop years. I have to admit, this album goes back to the punk rock of the 90’s that I grew up with. Some songs remind me of the albums Smash and Ignition. So, it’s a very good CD, I liked it, and if you’re into such punk rock, then I’d recommend it.

Thanks for reading as always,

Micki Peroni

Vice-Admin


14 Responses to Aftermath of Jokinen Debacle, What's to Follow?

  1. jimbob says:

    With rumors swirling around of Redden signing with Martin in Florida, the Jokinen trade makes little sense.  Even without him being signed, Florida now has 7 NHL caliber defensemen signed, bouwmeester an RFA.
    Now, take away their number 1 center in Jokinen, and number 3 center Stumpel has just been put on waivers…something has to happen.  Frolik is way too under-developed to come into the nhl now, Mathias is better as a number 2 or 3 center.  Bouwmeester could be traded, or so could any number of people for a number 1 or 2 center.
    Possible destinations:
    San Jose-Bouwmeester for Marleau and a young player.  This makes a lot of sense for both teams.  As it stands, Campbell will sign in the eastern conference.  Bouwmeester wants to be a good team as well.
    Columbus-columbus desperately needs a top 2 d-man to move the puck.  Their forward prospect pools are considerably large, but not so much at center.
    Chicago-They have decent depth everywhere, but a number 1 d-man would really do wonders for this team.  Havlat and a center would be good compensation.
    Ottawa-ottawa really doesnt have much to trade, besides maybe Vermette, that Florida would be interested in.  Obviously more needs to be added to sweeten the package…
    If anybody really watched Ottawa with Martin coaching them, you can see he really wasn't crazy about true number 1 centers.  With number 1 centers like Spezza and Yashin, he really disliked them.  Radek Bonk was seriously miscast by martin, so was smolinski…he seems to enjoy mediocrity down the middle.

  2. ChyldProdigy says:

    Great article, well written and easy to read despite the length.  I've picked Jokinin in my pool the last two years and could never understand why people were so negative about him (since it always seemed like he was the only guy worth looking at in Florida) and you shed a lot of light on that for me.
    I was astounded that they couldn't get a better package for him, you would think the offers would START with a first rounder and work their way up.  I wanted the Leafs to take a stab at him, but of course we didn't have the talent and certainly couldn't risk losing our first pick (the fans would've been outraged).
    Speaking of the Leafs (like that segway 🙂 I think it would be great if they could make something happen to get Jay-Bo.  It would make for a nice solid youth core on Defence, led by Kabs.  Once again, the lack of talent to sweeten a deal will certainly deaden all hopes, but I still like the idea of seeing:
    Kaberle, Bouwmeester, Schenn, Stralman headlining the league in the next couple years.

  3. ericthered1961 says:

    DON'T HOLD YOUR BREATH.:-)

  4. pezzz says:

    great article, it will be a very interesting summer for the Panthers this year.
    every year, experts and analysts are saying *this is finally the year for Florida, they're gonna make the playoffs*. and every year, they fail to do so. and now without Jokinen? it's legitimate we see little hope for them.

    if the rumors about Redden re-joining Martin in Florida are true, then they must part with Bouwmeester. but they still have a dilemna. there is two ways to part with him :

    1 : trade him for a #1 center, straight up or with little pieces around.

    2 : let him sign an offer sheet (around 5 millions), take the 2 1rst round picks, the 2nd round pick and the 3rd round pick, and then trade one of the 1rst round pick, along with a prospect, for the #1 center. this way, you get your #1 center, along with picks that you can either trade for depth at the deadline, or keep to continue the rebuilding.

    I'd take option #2, but a team must still sign him to an offer sheet, which is not sure at this point.

    if all these steps are taken (signing Redden, trading J-Bo for #1 center), I think the Panthers are 1 top 6 winger away from the 1rst seed in the South-East division (yes, in front of the Caps). Stillman or Brunette would be perfect.

    thoughts?

  5. mikster says:

    Allen
    Van Ryn
    Ballard
    Boynton
    Murphy
    Welch
    Jay Bo

    Hey, you can never have enough! There is no doubt in my mind that Bo will leave. They may sign him for a year and lose him at the deadline in Feb. But, he would be disgruntled and not worth it. Buh bye…

    I think the Redden rumors are just based on the connections between Martin and Redden.

    I think they’d look for depth and leadersip. Someone like Morrison. They may trade for Havlat. Would not surprise me if they make a pitch at Hossa.

    Jokinen was not the #1 center. Many times he just played RW. Woud not even surprised me if he played half the season on the RW.

  6. mikster says:

    Panthers would match any offer under $7M. I’d rather trade him for a forward.

  7. pezzz says:

    if Redden signs with Florida on July 1rst, I'm not sure the Panthers will match an offer above 5 millions.

  8. flyersfan10897 says:

    I'm going to agree with the poster above me.  I don't care if you do get Bouwmeester, those four will not be "headlining" the league.  First you're making the assumption that Bouwmeester would play better in Toronto, which may or not be true.  You're also assuming that Stralman is anything above an average defensemen, and that Schenn won't be a bust.  The only one that I'd be willing to give you is that Schenn probably won't be a bust.

    If you want to know who will have the best defense squad in the league, look at LA. Jack Johnson, Thomas Hickey, Drew Doughty, and Colten Teubert, and they might still have Lubomir Visnovksy.

  9. flyersfan10897 says:

    I cannot see the Panthers agreeing to pay Bouwmeester 6 million dollars a year.  He just isn't worth it.  If I was Martin and someone offered him anything around 6 million (I'd probably even go down to 4.5) I would let him go.  He just isn't worth a Vanek deal (though neither is Vanek).

  10. THEGREATHAB says:

    The change of scenery should help Jokinen,  while I think he gave up on the Panthers,  also I think the panthers have to take some of the blame.  What kind of team have they put together for this guy to play with?  Jokinen is a good player,  but he will not win you games by himself,  I think Florida put a little to much pressure,  and not enough support for him.

  11. Desertdog17 says:

    good article, some good points.  I believe that keith ballard is a very underrated defensmen in the league. at just 24, ballard played with morris as the top shutdown duo every single night for the coyotes.  And in the pacific division, you have to play some pretty tough d.  That is why losing ballard is a concern for me and the yotes.  I think that maloney and gretz feel they can fill the defensive holes now from within.  Keith Yandle proved last year that he is reary to be an nhl defenceman.  And i think it will be a battle at training camp between matt jones and Nick Ross to see who makes the jump.  I have heard nothing but good things about Ross, and i think he has a real solid shot.  However i do agree, signing 1 more solidified D man would be great, and orpik would be the right fit in the pacific division.

  12. Kramer says:

    Jokinen has played in as many playoff games as Steve Stamkos.

  13. jimbob says:

    Bouwmeester would probably hate it in Toronto, all the scrutiny, all the criticism…he appears to be quite the timid guy, so I don't see him fitting in well in a Canadian city.

  14. ChyldProdigy says:

    Absolutely, you never can know for sure with young prospects.  Certainly too much has been made of Stralman as a superstar, but for now he has decent potential and has held his own at the NHL level.  Perhaps headlining was not the best choice of words, but if expectations pan out (a big if in Toronto) Schenn and Stralman could become a Lidstrom/Rafalski type duo.
    It was the article that stated Bouwmeester preferred the spotlight, I wasn't the one making that assumption.  I like his current game, and feel he could get a lot better on a team he wanted to play for.  Whether or not that team is Toronto, I highly doubt it but I would still like to see it.

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