We can’t be entirely sure if Olli Jokinen will be a Ranger, but signs are pointing that way. As a refresher, the deal was: Jokinen and Brandon Prust to Broadway, and Ales Kotalik and Chris Higgins going out to Calgary. I love this deal. Jokinen, who is essentially replacing Higgins, since Kotalik doesn’t play anymore, is a very good player, who can set up with the best of them. Prust is a more physical version of Voros. Higgins, while a good penalty killer and a hard worker, was expendable. He wasn’t scoring. Kotalik, as we all know, just wasn’t working out. After the first couple of weeks, his shot from the point was hitting the net, and he’s next to useless on even strength. So, in my mind, this is another home run trade for Glen Sather.
Of course, this trade begs the question: Where will Jokinen play? And what will the lines look like? Here’s my early take:
Jokinen and Gaborik are a natural fit. That’s a great 1-2 punch–one of the better ones in the league. I’ve always wanted to see Avery with Dubi and Cally. That’s a hell of a hardworking line. The 3rd line is a good 3rd line. Anisimov seems to have chemistry with Lisin, and the defensive prowess of Drury allows Lisin to do more in the offensive end. The fourth line is kind of a mish-mosh. Don’t want to see Voros back in the press box, but Prust is a better player. Christensen has proven himself enough, and I love Boyle. Brashear sits.
Is this team better with the acquisition of Jokinen? Yes. Much better. So much better. Best part? They didn’t sacrifice the future. The Rangers still need to add a defenseman (or two). And he has to be physical. Garnet Exelby from Toronto for a 4th rounder anyone?