Is Jokinen "Flamed Out"?
One question I've seen buzzin' a little lately is if our boy Jokinen can rebound to his 70+ point seasons. Actually, I feel like I've heard this topic for a few seasons now.
Let me start off by saying that I like Jokinen. He's one of the few players that has declared some serious passion for a team and loves where he is. Obviously, it's important to be happy where you're playing. With someone of his talent, I gladly welcome him and his love for the flaming C.
Some say that it's impossible for him to bounce back to his 70 or 80 point levels, like his days in Florida. I certainly don't think it's IMPOSSIBLE, but I will say it's not unreasonable to think that his glory days are behind him. It isn't unheard of to see some players decline when they hit their early 30's (Jokinen will be 33 this December), and some even before that. With that in mind, is he worth keeping?
So is age the root of all of this? Perhaps. For a while, I personally thought he and Iginla were showing some serious chemistry issues and have been kind of an eyesore when playing together (well, with the exception of occasionally playing on the PP). On the other hand, he's started to really find a nice fit with Glencross, so I look forward to seeing more of that.
When a player becomes frustrated during a season and has a slump, we all notice it. Our Finnish flame can play absent minded during these times (as expected), and all that lack of confidence going hand-in-hand can put a nasty dent on his game. So the end result is giving the puck away (especially on the PP), botched scoring chances, and just all around poor decisions. Don't get me wrong, I'm not proposing that our guy is totally washed up, but he can be very frustrating to watch.
However, for a guy his size, he can skate well with the puck and apply pressure on the forecheck. Assuming he continues to put up 50 odd points from the 2nd line while being defensively responsible, I think most people will gladly accept that. To me, that's totally reasonable for where he's at right now.
I'm not going to get into all the numbers, percentages, and stats. To be perfectly honest, I don't like throwing those around (although it doesn't hurt knowing them). I call 'em like I see 'em. Plus, I don't always trust numbers. If you really want to take a look, the Flames' put together some numbers.
What I'm getting at in these last few thoughts is if you can keep the guy in the fold for a few years to come for not TOO much money, it isn't a bad investment. We've seen what he can do, he isn't terribly old in age, he's got a good shot, nice to have in shootouts, good size, and can really produce (more than anyone in the club, other than Iggy) when he's all there. Plus, he likes it in Calgary. And after all, there's not exactly a large number of high end or center prospects coming through the system where he would be in the way.