Jussi Jokinen celebrates his first goal of the 10-11 season in the opening game which was played in Helsinki October 7, 2010. The Hurricanes won the game over the Minnesota Wild, 4-3. Photo via Jamie Kellner
Jussi Jokinen, one of two remaining UFA's left for the Hurricanes to re-sign before the Free Agent period begins at noon tomorrow, has agreed to return to North Carolina for three more years. From the Canes's official release:
...the team has agreed to terms with forward Jussi Jokinen on a three-year contract. The deal will pay Jokinen $3 million per season.
Jokinen was paid $1.5 and $1.9 million in each of his two previous seasons and a significant pay raise was expected, with estimates closer to $4mil/year common. The versatile Finn, 28, has been a clutch, if streaky contributor, for the Hurricanes these past two seasons after making his reputation in Raleigh for thrilling last minute game winners during the 2009 Playoff run his first season with the team.
His hockey sense and abilities as a playmaker are considered among the best on the team and his stats place him among the top 4 for scoring here in Carolina this past year, despite missing 12 games to a groin injury mid-season. His shootout prowess has also been key to his success in seasons past.
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Like the other free agents signed this week, particularly Joni Pitkanen, the statements from the front office the last several weeks have gone back and forth on whether the team would be able to come to terms with Jokinen. Yesterday the pendulum returned to "hopeful" as Rutherford and Jokinen's agent had re-opened negotiations we were told.
It has been stated repeatedly that Erik Cole will test the free agent market and we do not expect to hear anything on his status till tomorrow afternoon.