With just a few days to go before the start of training camp, a lot of National Hockey League veterans are looking to land a professional tryout agreement in hopes to find a job for the upcoming season. And it is nothing different here. On Monday, the Detroit Red Wings signed free agent Jussi Jokinen to a professional try-out contract. The Finnish winger heads to training camp looking to earn a spot on the team for a very special reason.
Over his 13-year NHL career, Jokinen has played for the nine different teams across the league. He has tallied 191 goals and 372 assists for 563 career points in 951 career games. He sure hopes to land a full time spot on the Wings' roster and manage to play 1000 games or more in the NHL.
The Red Wings believe there is potential for Jokinen to bring the experience that comes with 13 seasons in the league, especially with a younger group of players in Detroit that had to deal with the tough blow of captain Henrik Zetterberg's announcement earlier this month. Due to back soreness and issues, Zetterberg is not expected to be starting the season with his teammates.
If Jokinen, who was originally drafted in the sixth round, 192 overall of the 2001 NHL entry draft by the Dallas Stars, finds a spot with the Red Wings, they'll be his 10th NHL team. The 35-year-old suited up for several teams last season: he was part of the Edmonton Oilers, Columbus Blue Jackets, Los Angeles Kings, and Vancouver Canucks in 2017-18, contributing five goals and 12 assists in 60 combined games.
He started the year with Edmonton, was then traded to the Kings. He was then waived to the Blue Jackets, who eventually traded him to the Canucks. At least now, he is used to moving and can focus on the task at hand in Detroit.
Jokinen has been a versatile forward that can play all three positions and hopes to offer help with special team assignments. He is expected to bring some added competition to the training camp as he could push younger candidates for vacant spots like a bottom-six role if he puts a strong camp.