The loss of Sidney Crosby may have pushed General Manager Ray Shero to make one final move before the trade deadline Wednesday afternoon. The Pittsburgh Penguins acquired center Jussi Jokinen from the Carolina Hurricanes for a conditional draft pick.
While other teams in the National Hockey League were making bigger splashes trying to match the aggressiveness of Shero, the Penguins seemed to add just a bit more depth just one day after their winning streak was ended Tuesday.
Jokinen, who was drafted by the Dallas Stars is in his eighth season and spent the five seasons with Carolina. So far this year, he has scored six goals and 11 points in 33 games.
With the loss of Crosby, Jokinen will more than likely be used to center the top line between Chris Kunitz and Pascal Dupuis.
In last night’s 4-1 loss to the Buffalo Sabres, Head Coach Dan Bylsma tried using Tyler Kennedy in that role. Given that no one can replace Crosby, Jokinen will bring more to the top line than Kennedy. Jokinen is more of a threat to score and has spent a lot of time playing with Eric Staal the past few years. On top of that, he brings something that Kennedy cannot- success in the faceoff circle. Jokinen has won almost 60 percent of draws this season and is 54 percent in his career.
Also, with this move it will allow the second line to remain untouched with Evgeni Malkin, Jarome Iginla and James Neal.
The third line will stay the same as well with Brandon Sutter, Matt Cooke and Brenden Morrow.
Kennedy appears to be the odd man out and demoted to the fourth line with Craig Adams and Tanner Glass.
This was Shero’s fourth deal in the last ten days. With these additions of Iginla, Morrow, Douglas Murray and Jokinen, the Penguins seem to be better prepared for the post-season than they were a month ago. All of these players have playoff experience and will bring a lot to the table come May.