On Saturday’s edition of the Illegal Curve Hockey Show, the first two segments were devoted to wrapping up the Winnipeg Jets moves in Free Agency, and what their lineup will look like in 2012-13.
The big news last week happened on Monday when the Jets inked Olli Jokinen to a two year $9 million contract.
The following discussion is transcribed and paraphrased from the latest episode, available directly at IllegalCurve.com. Alternatively, you can subscribe on iTunes and have the podcast automatically sent to you as soon as it becomes available.
The show began on Saturday with Drew, Richard and Ezra discussing the Jets latest acquisition.
Richard Pollock began:
“What the move does it fills a need in size and scoring up front, and pushing Bryan Little to the second centre slot. What I ask rhetorically, in the grand scheme of things, is what does this do? What does it make for the Jets? I’m not so sure it does anything.
People are excited because a player opted to sign here. The player opted to sign here, because they offered him the most money, nothing against the player for accepting that, and nothing against the team for offering him that.
There seems to be a big-time reaction about the signing of a guy in his mid-30’s who’s had a sketchy track record over the past couple years. Sure hes “reformed” under Brent Sutter, that’s not to say that won’t continue under Claude Noel.
Overall, does the team get better for next year? Yes, absolutely. I understand the other reason for this signing is to bridge the gap to a guy like Mark Scheifele. You sign Jokinen to a two-year deal, and you’re probably hoping that Mark Scheifele in two years is going to take a step to be an NHL starter. An NHL starter; meaning they are hoping a second line centre at least.
What does it do for them now? After looking at all the teams in the East…the problem is that all of the teams worse than the Jets got better, and all of the teams better than the Jets got worse, but not bad enough that the Jets are better. I’m not sure in the big scheme of things that this does anything for them. (In terms of where they will place in the standings)”
Ezra Ginsburg continued:
“I think that signing Olli Jokinen, it does make them better. The Jets have a number one centre now. Olli Jokinen is an upgrade over Bryan Little as far as offense goes, as far as size goes, as far as experience goes. Whether or not he should have been signed for $4.5 million…that’s the going rate. A sixty point guy, at this stage of a career, that’s about his ceiling. Obviously he was playing with Jarome Iginla, so those numbers may go down a little bit. He’s a 50-60 point guy.”
Drew Mindell followed up with:
“You realize also, the Jets needed to spend that money, right now they are $4.93 million below the salary cap floor. If they didn’t sign top flight talent they would have never got there. Right now they have four guys to sign to take them to the roster level. The issue of course, is Evander Kane is the guy who will be making money out of that group, the rest of them, won’t be making that much money. Without the Jokinen contract on the books, they wouldn’t have made the floor. That needs to be taken into account as well.
In that respect, if you are going to spend that money, that’s a good guy to spend it on. We went over the possible free agent forwards the Jets could sign, and centre was the weakest position for the Jets last season. (Jokinen was fourth on Ezra’s list of potential UFA’s to sign)“