Explaining Jokinen’s Terrible Last Quarter



A day or two after Olli Jokinen signed with the Winnipeg Jets, I saw a lot of chatter about this last 15-games or so amongst fans and pundits on twitter. The big Fin had something of a comeback season last year, scoring 61-points (second on the team) but there’s no question he had a dreadful final quarter – starting March 13, he managed just three points in the last 13 games and was a cumulative -14.

That being the Flames "stretch drive" for the playoffs, there was a lot of speculation about Jokinen’s health and character to explain his horrible downturn in results. The truth is, however, one doesn’t need to turn to health or character issues to sort things out – Jokinen merely hit a dry patch.

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The best way to investigate what happened is to look at Jokinen’s shot metrics before and during the downturn. If he suddenly started to get grossly outshot at even strength, then we can start discussing injuries or lack of intestinal fortitude. However, that turns out not to be the case:

Games 1-69      
corsi ES SV% ES SH% PDO
0.453 92.4 10.4 102.8

Games 70-82      
corsi ES SV% ES SH% PDO
0.482 83.5 3.6 87.1

Corsi is ratio of all shots directed at the net for and against at even strength while a player is on the ice. The SV% ad SH% columns show Jokinen’s on-ice percentages at even strength as well. PDO is the short name for the sum of those percentages.

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As you can see, Jokinen’s possession (corsi) ratio actually improved in the final segment of the season. What cratered on him was the percentages – Kipper went from stopping over 92% of the shots while Jokinen was on the ice to only 83.5% (!) which is worse than the average PK SV% for most ‘tenders.

In addition, Curtis Glencross’ magical ability to score on every 4th shot disappeared in the final 15-games or so and that combo’s above average on-ice shooting percentage fell to a ghastly 3.6%.


As has been established, PDO is mostly a measure of luck in the NHL and tends to regress heavily towards the league mean of 100 over time. Jokinen and Glencross were often deployed against other teams big guns by Brent Sutter and they were largely outshot and outchanced in that role. For the first three quarters of the year, they survived because the bounces more or less worked for them (PDO = 102.3). Unfortunately, regression hit them square in the face from games 70-82, so even though they marginally imrpoved their possession rates, it wasn’t enough to overcome those suddenly lousy percentages.

So, no, Jokinen’s stagger near the finish line probably wasn’t an indication that he folds under pressure or was battling a debilitating injury – it was merely a bad run of bounces which can afflict pretty much anyone in small samples.

  • beloch

    I still think the Flames should have kept Jokinen rather than signing Hudler, but at least he’s gone to a team that I’d like to see improve. Good signing for Winnipeg.

    • Im still not a big Jokinen fan. Sutter played him over his head and he mostly got killed. His ES stats would have been hideous without the help of the hockey gods through the first 60 or so games.

      That said, he’s good on the PP and if the Jets dont try to play him like a shut-down center (which he isn’t and never was) he should be decent enough for them.

      • ollie is a very good third line pivot, with good powerplay contributions as a bonus. in no way shape or form is the finn with the grin your frontline heavy lifter. misueded and abused, you gotta feel for the river.

        • beloch

          Jokinen was #2 for points last season while facing the second highest QoC of any forward. Iginla would likely not have been #1 if he had faced the same competition. That’s what you call a “good third line pivot”? If only the Flames were so lucky! A center that can score upwards of 60 points while facing top competition is a steal at a $4.5M/season, and Calgary likely could have gotten him for less. Winterpeg is a clear winner here.

          Granted, Joker’s Corsi wasn’t impressive and Glencross’s hot streak bumped up his point total, but he’s proven he can put up points even when being used in a shut-down role. He also performed noticeably better on powerplays.

          If put on the second line and used in power play situations Jokinen would likely be a valuable asset easily worth more than what Hudler is making, and I remain deeply skeptical that Hudler will live up to the value of his contract.

          If Hudler fails to impress, Cervenka falls short of being an awesome #1C and Backlund fails to find his scoring touch, picking up Hudler and shipping out Jokinen might be the move that brings the axe down on Feaster. I think he took a big risk here without much in the way of potential upside and rather a lot in terms of bloated long-term contracts.

  • I watched almost all the games last year and it seemed to me that whenever Jokinen was on the scoreboard it was the result of the puck hitting him and deflecting in, scoring on an empty net or getting a cheesy 2nd assist.

    Does anyone else have similar memories?

    • beloch

      That doesn’t really fit with what I remember, but even if it did that’d be a sign of a player who is at least crashing the crease and putting up screens.

  • RexLibris

    I seem to recall that Jokinen also had some abdominal surgery after the season ended.

    Am I wrong?

    From where I sit that Jokinen contract is a massive overpayment relative to his abilities. Mercifully it ends in two years. Perhaps by then Feaster will find some way to trade for him once again. 😉

  • MC Hockey

    I am mixed on Olli myself but if you want to get bigger and more skilled, he’s an option. I think he will continue to slide in terms of production so closer to 50pts this year but he does bring some checking prowess. So being a Flames follower and Jets follower/blogger I guess I have to keep on following him…ummm…not sure if that’s good.

  • beloch

    Kent, I tend to agree with you – but to play devils advocate for a minute:

    Could it not be that an abdominal injury could have limited his ability to pass and shoot (could explain the drop in SH%) and maybe even backcheck effectively?

    I agree luck probably played a role here, but to completely rule out any effect from the injury seems a little premature…

    • Then it would have affected his corsi ratio as well, not just his percentages. Players have a lot more control over the former than the latter. When percentages crater, but corsi remains stable (or improves) then you’re talking variance.

  • RKD

    He did have an abdominal injury and even though he wouldn’t use that as an excuse for his play down the stretch it did hamper him.

    If the Flames knew they were not going to keep Jokinen and didn’t see him down the road they should have traded him to get something back.

    Now, he got to walk away leaving the Flames empty-handed.

    He still ended up 2nd behind Iggy for points, lots of players were injured and as usual the team had nothing left in the tank after digging themselves in a big hole early in the season.

  • Captain Ron

    @RKD……….. “I’m aware, but I believe Feaster didn’t approach him about it. Mainly because the Flames were in a playoff race. Ownership probably would have vetoed the trade because Feaster wouldn’t be keeping the team competitive”

    No offense but I think this is complete speculation and rumor mongering on your part. From what I remember it was common knowledge and reported that he refused to waive his NMC at or near the deadline which would mean that the Joker had the last laugh.

    @Beloch……… Shipping out Joker and brining in Hudler bringing the axe down on Feaster? Cervenka has to become an awsome #1 center or else? Backlund has to suddenly start scoring or your GM who didn’t draft him is doomed? You can’t be serious. I would think it will take a lot more than that for him to be fired. He wasn’t the one who brought Joker here in the first place and when he tried to move him to get something in return he didn’t co-operate. Cervenka is a low priced gamble, and Backlund will be what he will be.

    Lamorillo and Poile just lost a couple of guys who were a hell of a lot more significant to their respective teams than Joker was and got nothing in return. Do you think they will be fired for that? You would think that their losses are quite a bit more significant than the Olli Jokinen situation was to us. I say the guy before Feaster who was fired in advance of this happening was much more responsible for the situation (NMC NTC) than Feaster. Joker was just another one of the albatross’s he was left having to deal with.

    I didn’t mind Olli the person, but his hockey IQ and decision making on the ice made me crazy at times. I won’t miss that. Too bad my B team’s fan base will have to suffer through it now.

  • Jeff Lebowski

    To me Jokinen was a low hockey IQ guy who forced a lot of plays but did have a heavy shot.

    He could lug the puck but he didn’t have the quick twitch moves to beat guys one on one.

    I’m not upset he’s gone.

  • QoC: quality of checkers or quality of opposition centres?
    Olie has better stats than I thought. FWs are slow though. If D is as mobile as last year is okay. Maybe too many centres now. I like that if Antropov or other big guys get hurt is still big replacements. Saw Hudler suck during regular season and really turn it on near end, or maybe was playoffs last year, the year missed a magical Det Van series…so would’ve prefered Hudler. With the big guys it should set up a nice entry for smaller youngsters. How much for Flood, Malhotra? Latendreusse is a lottery ticket. With the Ceci pickup I’ll call Ottawa the winner. Pittsburgh and T.O. both got a D pair in draft. I think Suter is overrated. I’d call Parise maybe the best FW in the game, and Suter good. Reminds me of Bouwmeester contract. Like Olie contract length; makes it superior to Hudler contract. Have to wait until training camp to see if enough FWs.

  • Some of these stats on this blog recently presented, are the realm of well-paid scouts, arbitreurs and agents. I wonder how consistent they are year to year. A player generally has similiar pts and PIMs. Jokinen got 3 assists but was a minus 2 a key game the Jets were destroyed by Cgy late season. Is that good? Is there some secret reason no one took Grigorenko? Like he nailed a teammate’s gf or something? If he is J.O’Neill arrogant, we should still have taken him.