Skip to main content
Original Issue

New Story

Once just a shootout specialist, Jussi Jokinen reinvented himself as the Panthers' most adaptable player

If this year's Panthers exemplify reinvention, no player has rewritten his old narrative more thoroughly than Jussi Jokinen. No longer just a shootout specialist, the 33-year-old winger has been the most versatile member of Florida's roster.

Jokinen, who is tied for second on the team in scoring, has 18 goals, more than twice his output last season, and leads the Panthers with 42 assists. Florida takes 53.4% of shot attempts when he is on the ice, the highest such mark on the team, although he starts more than half of his shifts in the defensive zone. Jokinen's 2.4 points per 60 minutes puts him ahead of stars Phil Kessel of Pittsburgh and Zach Parise of Minnesota, and he was a career-high +25 this season, higher than his legendary teammate, Jaromir Jagr.

Beyond the stats, Jokinen has been an asset for his adaptability. One of two Panthers forwards to log more than two minutes per game on both the power play and the penalty kill, he can also slip seamlessly onto any of Florida's top three lines—an invaluable quality when injuries inevitably occur in the playoffs.

Speaking of which, Jokinen is one of the few Panthers with considerable postseason experience. In 48 career playoff games (with three teams), he has amassed 28 points and scored 16 goals, including three game-winners in 2014 for the Penguins. While there aren't any shootouts in playoff hockey, Jokinen has proved that now he can contribute in other ways.

PHOTO

BRUCE BENNETT/GETTY IMAGES