The Columbus Blue Jackets have claimed forward Jussi Jokinen off waivers from the Los Angeles Kings, the team announced Wednesday.
The move came after the Blue Jackets put forward Sonny Milano on the injured reserve list on account of a torn oblique muscle. That injury was sustained on January 8 when Columbus faced the Toronto Maple Leafs.
“We lost another guy that could play potentially in our top nine,” general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said. “Sonny’s been a bit up and down this year, but nevertheless has scored eight goals with five assists. He’s gotten his feet wet in the NHL. (With Milano out) we didn’t feel we had enough NHL players to get us 12 NHL forwards onto the ice. That’s why we took Jussi Jokinen.”
Milano is due to be out four to six weeks with the injury.
Jokinen will be an unrestricted free agent come this summer. He was waived by the Los Angeles Kings after the team acquired him in November in a trade that included Mike Cammalleri. He hasn’t played since January 4 and put up just five points in 18 games with the Kings. Prior to that, he posted an assist in 14 games with the Edmonton Oilers.
The 34-year-old is mostly known for being a shootout specialist, but he has put together some impressive campaigns in the NHL. He scored 55 points in his rookie season with the Dallas Stars and had 30 goals with the Carolina Hurricanes in 2009-2010. He had 60 points with the Florida Panthers in 2015-2016, but hasn’t come up with much since.
Some have argued that bad luck has a lot to do with his proverbial slip and that’s as good a reason as any. Jokinen actually played very well in Edmonton, with a 58.33 Corsi at five-on-five charted in his 14 games. He had a positive impact on scoring chances, too.
But his shooting percentage was a dismal 1.16 with the Oilers. It took a turn for the better in Los Angeles, but things have been disappointing all around.
“Jussi Jokinen is a player we know very well,” Kekalainen said. “He can line up at centre or either wing, is good in the faceoff circle and can play on the power play and kill penalties. He has been a very good player in the National Hockey League for many years and we believe he will add great experience and versatility to our lineup.”