Jussi Jokinen was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins on April 3rd, 2013 and immediately made an impact with the team.
In his first game with the Pens, Jokinen impressed the organization by scoring Pittsburgh’s lone goal in regulation and tallied the only shootout goal in the team’s 2-1 victory over the New York Rangers.
A game where the Pens went on to win because of Jokinen.
The Finnish forward ended the regular-season with 11 points (7G, 4A) in 10 contests for the Pens and he recorded three assists in eight postseason appearances.
Although Jokinen underperformed in the playoffs, he had a pretty solid overall campaign with Pittsburgh in 2013.
With the on-going changes this offseason, the Penguins organization and head coach Dan Byslma will have to make a few decisions regarding the forward lines.
Byslma is likely to keep the line of Kunitz-Crosby-Dupuis together, and with the emergence of Beau Bennett, that leaves the question of where to slot Jokinen.
Although the 21-year-old Bennett has been fantastic for the team, Jokinen is an experienced veteran who would fit better with the top-six forwards.
After Jokinen was removed from the first-line when Crosby returned, he looked lost on the third-line.
Malkin and Neal played on a line that had trouble finding its third piece during the 2012-2013 campaign — but Jokinen could provide everything that they are seeking.
And while it may hinder the progression of Beau Bennett, the Penguins must utilize Jokinen properly by playing him in the right spot.
Pittsburgh has options with their forward lines and it remains to be seen where Jokinen will fit-in for his first full-season with the squad.
But if you want my opinion, Jokinen’s best suited for the second-line.
Stay tuned — this’ll get interesting.