Saturday, December 5, 2009
Born on this date in 1978, Olli Jokinen was drafted 3rd overall in he 1997 NHL Entry draft by the Los Angeles Kings while playing for HIFK in Helsinki of the Finnish SM-liiga.
Jokinen made his NHL debut later that season, playing in eight games for the Kings and scoring no points before returning to HIFK for the remainder of the year where he scored 39 points in 30 games. He added nine points in nine playoff games, including the series clinching goal in overtime of Game 3 to give HIFK the championship, earning him the Jari Kurri Trophy as playoff MVP.
He played 66 games for the Kings the following season, registering his first NHL goal on his way to a 21 point campaign, but was dealt to the New York Islanders in a trade that brought Ziggy Palffy to the Kings. In his only season on Long Island, Jokinen scored 21 points in 80 games, a total that made the Islanders consider him expendable and he was traded, along with Roberto Luongo, to the Florida Panthers for Mark Parrish and Oleg Kvasha.
During his first two seasons in Florida, Jokinen would score just 15 goals and 30 assists for 45 points in a combined 158 games, making what happened the next season a complete surprise.
36 goals and 29 assists for 2002-03 would more than double his previous season's point total and was four times his previous season's goal total, and six times more than two seasons prior.
He would prove 2002-03 was no fluke by scoring 26 goals and 32 assists for 58 points in 2003-04.
The lockout season of 2004-05 would see him move from EHC Kloten in Switzerland (8 games) to Södertälje SK in Sweden (23 games) and a return to HIFK back in his home country of Finland for 14 games and 5 playoff contests.
Back in Florida after the lockout would see him put up consecutive seasons of 38, 39 and 34 goals, including a 91 point season, his career best in 2006-07. His reward for his offensive consistency was a trade to the Phoenix Coyotes, with Florida receiving Keith Ballard, Nick Boynton and a 2nd round draft pick.
The year he spent in Phoenix would see him score 21 goals and 21 assists in 57 games and... a trade to the Calgary Flames at the end of the season, the fourth trade of his career, and be reunited with his coach from Florida, Mike Keenan. 19 games in Calgary saw 15 points, giving him 57 for the season, followed by 5 more points in 6 playoff games.
Jokinen's international resume is filled with medals and looks to be a great one in the making. Starting with a gold medal at the 1998 World Junior Championship, Jokinen then rattled off a silver in the World Championships later that spring, another silver in 1999 and a bronze in 2000. He also played in the World Championships for Finland in 2002, 2003 and 2004 before claiming a silver medal at the 2004 World Cup of Hockey.
He would make another World Championship appearance in 2005 before earning another bronze in the 2006, this shortly after winning a sliver at the 2006 Winter Olympics. Another bronze would be added to his growing collection at the 2008 World Championships, now giving him a gold, four silver and three bronze medals - eight in all.
Today's featured jersey is Starter 2002-03 Florida Panthers Olli Jokinen jersey. This jersey is from Jokinen's offensive breakout 36 goal season and sports the 2003 NHL All-Star Game patch. The patch is unusual in that it lacks any text identifying the year or location of the game or even the phrase "All-Star". If it weren't for the NHL logo, a hundred years from now no one would even know it was a hockey patch.
This highly attractive modern jersey was used by the Panthers beginning in their debut season of 1993-94, first with straight, one color white letters through the 1997-98 season, before changing to the always classy vertically arched two-color letters, a welcome and unexpected upgrade in the look, as many teams tend to simplify their look over time, rather than making them more complex.
The 2003-04 season saw the red home jersey designated at the Panthers alternate jersey and along with that came a revised crest, now getting the version formerly used on the blue alternate jersey which featured the leaping panther crest now breaking a hockey stick in half. 2006-07 saw the inevitable simplification occur, as the names on the back were once again straight across, although still in two colors. The now long-serving Panthers red jersey would fall victim to the new Reebok Edge jerseys the following year, ending a fourteen year lifespan for one of the nicer jerseys in the NHL.
Today's video is the NHL player profile on Jokinen, highlighting his charity giving.
Next, a nice tribute to Jokinen following his trade to Phoenix.