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New York, NY • United States • 2013 Years Old • Male
Olli Jokinen could be just what the Buffalo Sabres need.

While everyone is focused on Buffalo's biggest, glaring needs this offseason - at defense and back-up goalie, with the forwards stocked up - the Sabres should do all in their power to acquire O.J.

When I read that Florida is looking for a first round pick and two young players, my interest intensified. Buffalo can certainly wheel and deal for this to happen, --don't forget Florida was their co-affiliate in the AHL for the last three years, so they're also familiar with Buffalo's young players (and I'd see MacArthur being part of a deal like this).

The Sabres should seriously consider it. Even if they were to just acquire Joki's rights only to trade him to another team for assets, because that's an option too - they should go all out to make it happen.

Jokinen's 5.5 million sallary for the next two years would fit fine in the Sabres plans if they can make a few salary dumps. In fact, for that kind of price, it works out great for Buffalo. Just remember, Briere or Drury - either - could have been kept for about the same price (if the Sabres inked the deal 6-12 months before UFA Day). And Jokinen could be a differencemaker on this Sabres squad, which already has a tremendous core in place.

To return to prominence in the Eastern Conference, this is precisely the type of deal the Sabres should really push for.

I know everyone loves Roy and Vanek together, but imagine Vanek playing with Jokinen? Vanek-Jokinen-Stafford would be a great line, for instance. Roy could be an amazing second line center, with teams paying so much attention to this first line.

Hecht-Pommer and a player to be named would make for an awesome third line, and all of a sudden, Buffalo is back to rolling four lines like it used to just a few short years ago.

What do you all say? I say make the deal. It would be a total game-changer for this Buffalo squad. Add a defenseman or two by draft, free agency, or trade, and I think I'd be pretty psyched about a team like that.
Filed Under:   buffalo   florida   panthers   sabres   jokinen  
June 18, 2008 11:57 AM ET | Delete
Good blog. I agree that the Sabres should do something to get a 1st line-caliber player this off-season, though I highly doubt they will.Vanek was obviously not ready to be a premier player, and I doubt that he may ever be, though Roy is. Where Vanek will thrive is with a strong supporting cast, be it a Jok or someone not quite so good (or expensive.)It wouldn't hurt the Sabres at all to try to land somebody though. I was disappointed last year with most of the younger guys that I (and the Sabres) thought were ready for bigger NHL roles, MacArthur, Ryan, etc. Add to that Max Af looks worse and worse every season. 1 point per 3 bad turnovers just isn't worth it. Buffalo definitely has some valuable pieces that they can afford to lose.Signing a guy that even resembles a star player would be an awesome lift for the Sabres, but management hasn't been willing to sign anyone at anything other than a discount since...My money is on they'll keep their picks, keep drafting, and we'll be waiting at least another season or two before they are true contenders again.
June 18, 2008 1:04 PM ET | Delete
claude, thanks for the post. i agree with most of your points. if history is any indication, you're absolutely right. sabres management - not necessarily regier or ruff, but the higher-ups - have really handcuffed this team, not allowing them to make any big, right-for-the-team HOCKEY deals. a lot of the way they operate is about the bottom line; it's unfortunate. the sabres are close to being a great team again, and i agree with you vanek needs a supporting cast in order to really thrive. i think nows the time for buffalo to act, and i hope they do.
June 18, 2008 1:15 PM ET | Delete
I totally disagree with you. Where has OJ taken the Panthers? Nowhere. And they used to have possibly the best goalie in the league(Luongo). I think his leadership qualities are lacking. Yes, he could help the team but the Sabres need a solid defensemen before any thoughts of a bigger salaried forward. You didn't mention that Pommer and Miller need to be resigned long-term and for big $$. I think you are over-estimating MacArthur's value too. I think what we've seen, is what he is....a 3rd liner with good instincts that can pot 15 goals a yr...no more. I would think FL would want ALOT more in the deal. I say no thanks to OJ. If a deal for him did happen...I would hope he proves me wrong with his ability to lead and that the Sabres don't giveaway the bank.
June 18, 2008 2:01 PM ET | Delete
(Robot Voice) Negative...no compliance...
June 18, 2008 2:29 PM ET | Delete
I cannot disagree that Jokinen is a great player, but I must agree with siket and say that he has not shown that he can take a young team anywhere. Florida has one of the best young cores in the league and are a few years from being a team that will not only compete for the playoffs, but for their division as well. If he was unable to take them over the hump, I just don't see him making a decided difference here. The name that has been thrown around that I really like is Gaborik from the Wild. He is younger and (in my opinion) is better than Jokinen, and if he could play 80 games a year (compared to his 60-65), he would score 100pts. He also has made a difference for the Wild the past couple seasons, with him being a driving force in their divisional wins when he was healthy. The West is much more physical than the East and I think he'd be able to give you 75 games playing on the wing on the first line. He would probably start off with Vanek and Roy as well, which would hands down be the most talented line in the league (move over Spezza, Heatley and Alfy). Rumor has it that Minnesota wants a proven player (Max), a prospect (MacArthur, Mancari, Card, or Funk) and a first rounder (we have 2).
June 18, 2008 2:54 PM ET | Delete
I don't think you can knock Jokinen for the Panthers being garbage. Who else is on that team? I can name Karlis Skrastins, only because he was an Av, after that it'd take me at least 10 minutes to come up with 5 names. Send Crosby to FLA and that team still does not make the playoffs.
June 18, 2008 2:59 PM ET | Delete
We should grab Olli without a doubt but some people think we don't need him and we DO!!!! Check the guys stats he is a good player, just because the Panthers don't make the playoffs doesn't mean he is not a leader. Go get him Darcy!!!!
June 18, 2008 3:06 PM ET | Delete
mclouden, i have no problem with Gaborik, but have a look at his contract. He has one year left and he's making 7.5mill next season. No thanks. we dont want another short-term UFA rental only to lose him. Jokinen comes cheaper and he'll be around a bit with two years left on his contract. Also, Afinogenov is not a "proven player." if i was a GM in this league, i wouldnt want him. i think the sabres will get a low draft pick for him at best.
June 18, 2008 3:08 PM ET | Delete
siket, they'll take care of pominville and miller. bottom line is we need to get a core of solid players, a few cheap veterans, and build the rest of the team around young, skilled players like we always have. jokinen could definitely be a part of that equation. of course it could involve giving up someone we may not want to, too, but you have to give something up to get something good.
June 18, 2008 3:54 PM ET | Delete
I think OJ would be a nice addition to this team and at a great price. not sure how you can argue how you wouldn't want him, at a reasonble price i do agree with siket you over estimating macs value. add a deffense man and are team will make the playoffs with out a dought but its up to are young guys to improve to see how far. (sekera, webber, paille staff and bernier hold the key) almost forgot need a back up goalie no question there.
June 18, 2008 5:49 PM ET | Delete
We need a center, which would eliminate Gaborik. A player who has far less baggage, IMO, costs slightly more but would be a better fit is Marleau. Still, we have to back up the truck talent-wise to make that happen, shipping SJs pick back to them is not an option.Oh, and Vanek scored 4 more goals than Parise last year, after suffering a horrendous start (along with the rest of the team) and is all of one year older. Are people worried about Parise's ability to be a prime time player? No, I know I'm not worried about that at all. Vanek will be fine, thank you very much.
June 18, 2008 6:23 PM ET | Delete
good points nfph. thanks for commenting. i think marleau would be a great fit too. im not sure what san jose would be looking for to get him though.
June 18, 2008 7:13 PM ET | Delete
I don't know anything about Jokinen, but from what the others have said, he might fit well in the Sabres' lineup. That said, I think what the Sabres really need is proven, seasoned professional with a stellar track like Jagr. I think he could be a steading force on young team.
June 19, 2008 9:00 AM ET | Delete
First and foremost, Max needs a change of address. He has had his chances here in Buffalo and has been to inconsistant for my liking. Although he is one of my favorite Sabres, I am a team support more than an individual supporter. In regards to Ollie- I would love to see him in a Sabres' sweater and the scenario that Millertime posted, in theory and on paper, sounds perfect - the real question is would Ollie want to play in Buffalo? I think we need to consider all of the other UFA's and RFA's that have let go- would Ollie want to be put in the same position as Briere, Drury, Campbell and others that have come before? Either way - with or without Ollie - I think we are on our way back to greatness (i hope).
June 19, 2008 9:24 AM ET | Delete
good post nylawdog! i think we're on our way back too. if not Ollie, let's hope management finds the appropriate pieces to put this team back to its dominant ways of just a few years ago.
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