|Born|| December 5, 1978 |
|Height||6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)|
|Weight||210 lb (95 kg; 15 st 0 lb)|
|National team||Template:Country data FIN|
|NHL Draft|| 3rd overall, 1997|
Los Angeles Kings
Olli Jokinen (born Olli Veli Pekka Jokinen on December 5, 1978) is a Finnish professional ice hockey player who is currently a free agent, having last played for the St. Louis Blues of the National Hockey League (NHL).
Olli has also played for the New York Islanders, Florida Panthers, Phoenix Coyotes, Calgary Flames, New York Rangers, Winnipeg Jets, Nashville Predators and the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Playing Career in FinlandEdit
Olli began with his hometown team, KalPa, playing for the squad's under-18 and junior teams between 1994 and 1996.
He made his debut with the senior team in the SM-liiga in 1995–96, appearing in 15 games, scoring one goal and one assist. He moved onto HIFK in 1996–97, where he played full-time with the senior squad.
Olli was the youngest player on the team, and in 50 games, scored 14 goals and 41 points. He was recognized as the SM-liiga's rookie of the year, and was presented with the Jarmo Wasama memorial trophy.
The NHL's Central Scouting Bureau rated Olli as the top European prospect for the 1997 NHL Entry Draft. He was selected by the Los Angeles Kings with the third overall selection, after Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau.
Olli began the 1997–98 season with the Kings, making his NHL debut on October 1, 1997, against the Pittsburgh Penguins. He was held pointless in eight games, however, and the Kings chose to return him to HIFK to complete the season.
He played 30 games with HIFK, scoring 39 points. He added another nine points in nine playoff games as the team won the SM-liiga championship.
Olli won the Matti Keinonen and Jari Kurri trophies in 1998 as the most effective player of the regular season and most valuable player of the playoffs, respectively.
Los Angeles Kings & New York IslandersEdit
Returning to North America, Olli began the 1998–99 season with the Kings' American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Springfield Falcons. He earned a recall to Los Angeles after nine games, in which he scored nine points.
Olli recorded his first NHL point on November 5, 1998, with an assist in a game against the St. Louis Blues, then scored his first NHL goal five nights later against the Calgary Flames. He was named the NHL's Rookie of the Month for November, scoring eight points in 11 games.
Olli finished the season with 21 points in 66 games played.
Following the conclusion of the season, on June 20, 1999, he was traded to the New York Islanders along with Josh Green, Mathieu Biron and a first-round selection at that year's draft, in exchange for Zigmund Palffy, Bryan Smolinski, Marcel Cousineau & a fourth-round selection.
He was considered the central piece of the deal from New York's perspective, as they gave up their top player in Pálffy.
Olli played only one season on Long Island. He appeared in all 82 games for the Islanders, scoring 21 points.
However, Olli was included in a trade at the 2000 NHL Entry Draft as he was packaged with goaltender Roberto Luongo and sent to the Florida Panthers in exchange for Mark Parrish & Oleg Kvasha on June 24, 2000.
In Florida, Olli initially did not get along with Head Coach Terry Murray as the Panthers' bench boss criticized his play while leaving him out of the lineup for several December games during the 2000–01 season.
Even though Olli appeared in 78 games for the Panthers, his offensive totals fell to a career-low 16 points. He showed a modest improvement to 29 points in 80 games in 2001–02, but Jokinen was increasingly being criticized as a bust.
Olli's confidence reached a low point during that season and at one point, he contemplated leaving the NHL and returning to Finland.
The 2002–03 season proved to be Olli's breakout year. Playing under new coach Mike Keenan and described by General Manager Rick Dudley as skating "every shift like it was his last," he scored 11 points in his first 12 games of the season.
Olli equaled his previous career high of 29 points in the 26th game of the season and finished with a team-leading 36 goals and 65 points.
Additionally, Olli played in his first NHL All-Star Game. He credited his turnaround to Head Coach Mike Keenan, who launched into a tirade against the player's commitment during the first intermission of a game mere days after he was hired as a mid-season replacement for Terry Murray.
Olli had been named an alternate captain of the Panthers prior to the 2002–03 season and was elevated to captain to begin 2003–04. Again, he led the team in goals (26) and points (58) and scored his 200th career point on March 10, 2004, with an assist against the Buffalo Sabres.
When the 2004–05 season was cancelled due to a labour dispute, Olli played for several European teams: first EHC Kloten of the Swiss National League A, then Södertälje SK of the Swedish Elitserien and finally HIFK back in Finland.
Returning to the NHL in 2005–06, Olli reached new career highs with 38 goals, 51 assists and 89 points. He played his 500th NHL game on November 19, 2005, against the New York Islanders, and recorded his first NHL hat-trick on November 25 against Pittsburgh.
Appearing in all 82 games for the Panthers in 2006–07, Olli again set personal bests with 39 goals, 52 assists and 91 points. He fell back to 34 goals and 71 points in 2007–08, but led the Panthers offensively for the fifth consecutive season.
Olli was involved in a frightening accident during a February 10, 2008, game against the Buffalo Sabres. He was checked by Buffalo forward Clarke MacArthur and as he fell to the ice, his skate came up and struck teammate Richard Zednik in the throat, seriously injuring him.
Zedník was nearly killed by the cut and missed the remainder of the season, though he recovered and was able to resume his career.
Olli was the subject of trade rumours throughout the season as the Panthers, who had failed to make the Stanley Cup playoffs for seven consecutive seasons, looked at ways of improving their club.
He left the Panthers as the franchise's all-time leader in goals (188), assists (231) and points (419).
Phoenix Coyotes, Calgary Flames & New York RangersEdit
The 2008–09 season began well for Olli as he recorded 18 points in his first 21 games with the Coyotes.
However, a shoulder injury suffered in November of 2008 caused him to miss a game for the first time since 2002–03, ending his streak of consecutive games played at 397.
Olli appeared in 57 games for the Coyotes but did not finish the season in Phoenix; the Calgary Flames acquired him along with a third-round draft pick, on March 4, 2009 in exchange for Matthew Lombardi, Brandon Prust and Calgary's first-round selection at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.
The deal was an immediate benefit to the Flames as Olli had one of the best starts for a newly acquired player in team history, scoring ten points in his first six games, and was named the NHL's Second Star of the Week for March 9–15.
He fell into an offensive slump toward the end of the season, however, failing to score in Calgary's last 13 regular season games.
For the first time in his ten-year NHL career, however, and after a wait of 799 NHL games, Jokinen played in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Earlier in the season, while still with Phoenix, Olli surpassed Guy Charron's NHL record total of 735 games without ever appearing in a playoff game. He appeared in six games during the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs, scoring five points as the Flames were eliminated in the first round.
Olli offense disappeared in 2009–10, as he scored just three goals in his first 23 games and failed to work well with captain Jarome Iginla.
He was criticized by local media, who placed blame on his shoulders for the Flames' failure to make the 2010 playoffs and for failing to live up to the value expected by his US$5.25 million contract.
Late in the season, Olli was involved in a trade to the New York Rangers, where he was sent with Brandon Prust in exchange for Ales Kotalik and Chris Higgins, who had similarly disappointing seasons in New York.
The deal generated controversy after Canadian channel TSN had announced that the trade was complete, then claimed that the Flames had balked at completing the deal, believing they would need their players for a scheduled game.
Consequently, Olli appeared in his final game with the Flames knowing through the media that he was to be traded afterward.
When the trade was officially made, Olli bluntly described his feelings on the deal: "It’s a brutal business. That’s the way it goes. It comes with the salary. When you make $5 million, 11 goals is not going to cut it. ... It’s definitely a slap in the face to get traded." He scored 15 points in 21 games with the Rangers.
In the final game of the season, New York faced the Philadelphia Flyers with the winner qualifying for the final playoff spot. Regulation time ended with the two teams tied, and the game ultimately went to a shootout.
Olli came up as the Rangers' final shooter, with Philadelphia leading by one goal. His shot was stopped by Brian Boucher, ending their season.
A free agent following the season, Olli chose to return to the Flames, signing a two-year, $6 million contract. The deal generated a strong reaction in Calgary as some fans expressed strong opinions against his reacquisition.
The Flames' Head Coach Brent Sutter sought to simplify Olli's game and force greater defensive responsibility on the forward. He finished the 2010–11 season with 17 goals and 54 points and was praised by his coach.
On January 1, 2012, Olli appeared in his 1,000th NHL game, a 5–3 loss to the Nashville Predators.
Winnipeg Jets, Nashville Predators, Toronto Maple Leafs & St. Louis BluesEdit
After becoming an unrestricted free agent on July 1, 2012, Olli signed a two-year, $9 million deal with the Winnipeg Jets a day later, on July 2nd.
He was named an alternate captain of the team at the start of the lockout-shortened 2012–13 NHL season.
While he was a popular player with his Jets teammates, Olli was unable to provide the type of offensive performance the team expected. He recorded only seven goals and seven assists in 45 games.
Following the season, he admitted that not playing in Europe during the lockout negatively impacted his fitness and play throughout the NHL season.
Olli returned to Winnipeg for the 2013–14 season and reached a pair of milestones early in the campaign. He recorded both his 400th assist and 700th point on October 13, 2013, in a 3–0 victory over the New Jersey Devils.
Olli played in all 82 games for Winnipeg and recorded 18 goals and 43 points. However, he was also passed by Bryan Little and Mark Scheifele on the Jets' depth-chart at centre. As a consequence, Winnipeg allowed him to leave via free agency.
On July 20, 2014, he signed a one-year contract with the Nashville Predators worth $2.5 million.
On February 15, 2015, Olli (along with Brendan Leipsic and a first-round draft pick in 2015) were traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for Cody Franson and Mike Santorelli.
He wore number 11 in Toronto as opposed to his regular number 13, out of respect for Maple Leafs' great Mats Sundin, saying, "There's only one No. 13 for the Maple Leafs and that's the way it should be."
After only six games played for Toronto, Olli was traded to the St. Louis Blues in exchange for forward Joakim Lindstrom and a conditional sixth-round pick in 2016. He played 8 games for St. Louis Blues before suffering a season ending injury on March 6th against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Regular season and playoffsEdit
|1997–98||Los Angeles Kings||NHL||8||0||0||0||6||—||—||—||—||—|
|1998–99||Los Angeles Kings||NHL||66||9||12||21||44||—||—||—||—||—|
|1999–00||New York Islanders||NHL||82||11||10||21||80||—||—||—||—||—|
|2009–10||New York Rangers||NHL||26||4||11||15||22||—||—||—||—||—|
|2014–15||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||6||0||1||1||2||—||—||—||—||—|
|2014–15||St. Louis Blues||NHL||8||1||2||3||0||—||—||—||—||—|
|Competitor for Template:FIN|
|World Junior Championships|
Olli has represented his native Finland on numerous occasions. He first played with the Finnish national junior team at the under-18 level in the 1996 European Junior Championship. He joined the under-20 team one year later for the 1997 World Junior Championship, scoring five goals in six games.
He made his debut with the senior team that same year, finishing second in team scoring with six points in eight games at the 1997 World Championship.
At the 1998 World Junior Championship, Olli tied with American Jeff Farkas as the tournament's scoring leader with ten points and helped Finland win the gold medal on home soil. He was named a tournament all-star at centre and was given the Directorate Award as top forward.
He then won a silver medal at the 1998 World Championship. Another silver followed in 1999 and bronze medals in 2000, 2006 and 2008.
In total, Olli has appeared in ten World Championships for Finland, scoring 41 points in 82 games.
He made his Olympic debut at the 2002 Games, where he scored two goals in four games even though Finland were eliminated by Canada in the quarter-finals and finished in sixth place.
Two years later, he helped Finland reach the final of the 2004 World Cup of Hockey, scoring the first goal in a 2–1 come from behind victory over the United States in the semi-final. The Finns were again defeated by Canada.
At the 2006 Olympics in Turin, Olli tied with Teemu Selänne for the team lead with six goals and helped Finland reach its first gold medal game in a Winter Games. He and his teammates had to settle for silver, however, following a 3–2 loss to rival Sweden in the final.
Olli won a bronze medal at his third Olympics, the 2010 Vancouver Games. He scored two goals (including the game winner) in a 5–3 victory over Slovakia in the third place game.
- 1996–97: SM-liiga Jarmo Wasama memorial trophy
- 1997–98: SM-liiga Matti Keinonen trophy
- 1997–98: SM-liiga Jari Kurri trophy
Olli met his wife Katerina (who was born in Greece but grew up in Finland) when they were both 18 years old). They were married in 2001 and have three daughters.
He has an older brother named Ville, who played 47 games in SM-liiga between 1996 and 1998 with four points (one goal and three assists) and 58 penalty minutes.