If you didn’t know who Jordan Szwarz was before this season, let alone expect him to be a regular in the Bruins’ lineup, you probably weren’t alone.
The Bruins have become very thin at forward due to both injuries and a lack of depth prior to the season starting. Regardless, it looks like the Bruins will still be in compete mode for the time being. At the moment, Corsica has their playoff odds at about 59% with a projected 94 points.
Their shot metrics are slightly above mid-pack with a 52.47 xGF% (9th in the NHL) and 52.76 CF% (6th in the NHL). However, it seems most Bruins fans would like to have a little more scoring touch, with the Bruins only scoring 2.09 goals per sixty minutes of five on five action (24th in the NHL).
That scoring touch may just be in Alberta. The Oilers have gauged interest in thirty-four-year old forward Jussi Jokinen. The Finnish-born product signed with the Edmonton Oilers this summer on a one-year deal for $1.1 million.
As he’s yet to record a point at even strength this season, it’s possible that Chiarelli and the Oilers feel it is the end of the road for Jokinen.
Although it seems unlikely, it may be true: Jokinen only put up 11 even strength primary points last year in just short of 900 minutes (.74 per 60 minutes).
However, considering that he put up 68 even strength primary points in the 3000 minutes prior to that (1.36 per 60 minutes), it seems unlikely Jokinen just lost his skills all of a sudden.
Since the start of the 2013-14 season, Jokinen has put up 5.79 wins above replacement in 331 games. That is easily first-line level. Of that, 5.48 is comprised of his ability to produce shots and his shooting talent.
We know Jokinen is getting older, and is not the player he was a couple years ago, but this seems an awful lot like a scene in Moneyball: Billy Beane goes into the batting cage and confronts David Justice, he tells him, “I’m not paying you for the player you used to be, I’m paying you for the player you are now.”
At 1.1 million, Jokinen is getting paid like a fourth liner. As you can see below, even as of late, he is far better than a fourth liner.
With his contract ending at the end of the season, this should seem like a no-brainer. Most teams wait until the trade deadline to make these deals. They want to know exactly where they’re at before they make a trade.
If the Bruins wait until the trade deadline, they may still be able to get Jokinen or another player, but risk giving up more than they’d like. Come deadline day, there are more competitors, giving the other team the leverage in negotiations.
One perk of making a move on Jokinen now, is you can still trade him at the deadline if the Bruins don’t make the playoffs. Imagine feeling like you win a trade against the Oilers and then flip that for even more.
The complication is that the Oilers are looking for a skilled forward. Well it just so happens Jokinen is a skilled forward. So unless both teams feel like they are upgrading at forward, it is highly unlikely the two can get a deal done.
One potential trade: Jussi Jokinen for Matt Beleskey
For the Oilers:
- Take a chance on a guy who had gained a strong reputation in Anaheim
- Add a player with a style they like who might just need a change of scenery
For the Bruins:
- Frees up $3.8 million in cap space for the offseason and $2.7 million for the rest of the season
- Take a guy who has a stronger track record
Although it looks like it would be a lot of work to get a deal done, the Bruins should consider acquiring Jokinen. He may not be the player he once was, but for the money and commitment, he has a lot to offer.
With players like Danton Heinen eating up power play time, if the Bruins want to make the playoffs, they need to find a skilled forward now, and Jokinen may just be that guy.