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Predators sign veteran Olli Jokinen to one-year deal

Nick Kypreos is reporting that Nashville has signed Olli Jokinen to a one-year contract worth $2.5 million.

The Finnish center appeared in all 82 games for the Central Division rival Winnipeg Jets last season posting 43 points (18 goals, 25 assists).

UPDATE: The team’s official press release is below.

Nashville, Tenn. (July 2, 2014) – Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that the club has signed free-agent forward Olli Jokinen to a one-year, $2.5 million contract.

“Olli Jokinen is a proven veteran center who will provide us with size, leadership and offensive ability in the tough Central Division and Western Conference,” Poile said. “He provides our coaching staff with more depth and options at the forward position and coach Laviolette believes he is a good fit for our style of play.”

Jokinen, 35 (12/5/78), has amassed 740 points (317g-423a) and 1,043 penalty minutes in 1,169 NHL games with Los Angeles, the New York Islanders, Florida, Phoenix, Calgary (two stints), New York Rangers and Winnipeg since 1997. The 6-3, 215-pound center is a seven-time 20-goal scorer, four-time 30-goal scorer, and five-time 60-point getter, tallying career highs in both goals (36) and points (91) with the Panthers in 2006-07. Appearing in all 82 games for the Jets in 2013-14, Jokinen amassed 18 goals, 43 points and 62 penalty minutes. Sixteen of those 18 goals came at even strength.

An NHL All-Star in 2003, Jokinen has served in a leadership role in eight of his last 11 seasons – as a captain in Florida from 2003-08 and most recently as an alternate captain the past three seasons in both Calgary and Winnipeg. He has also been one of the League’s most durable players, playing more NHL games than anyone since the start of the 1999-2000 season (1,095); Jokinen has played in all 82 games seven times during that span and has missed a total of just 19 games over those 14 seasons.

Los Angeles’ first selection, third overall (first round), in the 1997 Entry Draft also has extensive international experience highlighted by medals at three consecutive Olympic Games: silver at the 2006 Torino Games where he tied for the tournament lead in goals, and bronze at both the 2010 Vancouver Games and 2014 Sochi Games. He also has six World Championship medals (silver in 1998, 1999 and 2014; bronze in 2000, 2006 and 2008) and a silver medal from the 2004 World Cup of Hockey. Prior to January’s win at the 2014 World Junior Championship, Finland’s last Gold at the tournament was in 1998 on a team led by Jokinen, who was named Best Forward and to the tournament All-Star Team in the process.


PHOTO CREDIT: The Mel (used with permission)