Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 06/06/14 at 08:26 AM ET
from Luke Fox of Sportsnet,
With so many of the league’s significant players headed toward 2014 free agency re-signing with their clubs mid-season, unattached stars will be scarce on July 1, when the courting period ends and unrestricted free agents can ink contracts with the highest bidder — or the one that offers them the best chance to win a Stanley Cup.
The NHL’s salary cap is expected to rise from $64.3 million to $71 million, according to commissioner Gary Bettman’s projection, so expect some hefty contracts for these 14 in-demand players.
14. Jussi Jokinen
Age on July 1: 31
Team: Pittsburgh Penguins
Position: Left wing
2013-14 cap hit: $3 million
Stay or go? Stay
Why he’ll get paid: Scooped from the Hurricanes at the 2013 trade deadline for the low price of a conditional sixth- or seventh-rounder, the Finn returned to his 20-goal, 50-point form in Pittsburgh’s high-octane offence. Though Pittsburgh’s second-round exit from the playoffs was disappointing, Jokinen cannot be blamed. He scored seven goals and added three assists in 13 playoff games this spring and has been a great fit on the Pens’ second line. And don’t overlook his shootout skills, which can help a team pick up valuable standings points in this era of parity.
Latest dirt: During locker cleanout, Jokinen expressed his wish to return to the Penguins, and they’d be foolish not to give him a modest raise and bring him back.
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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