As this ongoing series has done already, we’re looking at some former Toronto Maple Leafs players that may not be the first players to come to mind when you think of the the franchise. These players donned the blue and white like so many others, but might not get the same kind of recognition as their colleagues did for their time with the club.
While some of them simply weren’t given the chance in a Maple Leafs’ uniform, having shortened stints with the clubs, others just weren’t the stand out, superstar calibre players that made the news game in and game out.
With that, this latest look back on the Maple Leafs’ forgotten ones looks in on a former player who spent just six games in blue and white, but played over 1,200 during his NHL career. His stint in Toronto was short, but it won’t be forgotten.
Jokinen Becoming a Maple Leaf
Drafted in the first round, third overall, in 1997 by the Los Angeles Kings, Olli Jokinen debuted with the Kings as a 19-year-old in 1997-98. He went on to play 17 seasons in the NHL and it wasn’t until 2014-15 that he was shipped to the Maple Leafs as a 36-year-old.
In mid-February 2015, Dave Nonis and the Maple Leafs acquired Jokinen – along with Brendan Leipsic and the Nashville Predators first-round draft pick in 2015 – in exchange for Cody Franson and forward Mike Santorelli. It was a trade that didn’t entirely work out for either side in the long run.
At the time, Jokinen had three goals and six points in 48 games for the Predators. His average ice-time per game was down to 13:31, well below his career average of 18:13 and things just weren’t working out for him in Nashville.
However, his stay with the Maple Leafs was short-lived as the team moved the veteran just over two weeks after acquiring him from the Predators.
Donning the Blue Maple Leaf
Following his acquisition by the Maple Leafs, Jokinen suited up for six games for the club before the team moved him to the St. Louis Blues on March 2. Over that span, he collected one assist and saw his ice-time climb nearly a full minute from his stop in Nashville.
Toronto was his fifth stop in less than five years for Jokinen, and his move to St. Louis was the final stop. In the deal, the Maple Leafs acquired forward Joakim Lindstrom and a conditional sixth-round pick in 2016.
The pick was used to take defenceman Nicolas Mattinen from the OHL’s London Knights with the 179th pick in the 2016 NHL Draft.
The Rest of Jokinen’s Career
While his stay in Toronto was cut short, Jokinen did play 17 seasons in the NHL for 10 different franchises. His most notable years were with the Florida Panthers and Calgary Flames where he spent parts of 11 seasons between the two clubs.
Over his 17-year career, Jokinen put up 321 goals and 750 points in 1,231 regular season games for those 10 franchises. He finished with a minus-132 rating and 151 power play points.
What might be most notable in regards to Jokinen’s career is that he saw the playoffs just once over 17 seasons. That came as a 30-year-old with the Flames in 2008-09 in which he added five points in six games before the team was eliminated.
Jokinen’s NHL career came to a close following his stint with the Blues – one that lasted just eight games in which he tallied three points.
While his time in the blue and white will likely be an afterthought in his career, his short stay is still a small piece of Jokinen’s NHL story. Because of that, he’ll forever be cemented as one of the Maple Leafs’ forgotten ones.
All-Time Maple Leafs’ Ranks
Games Played: 6 GP (T760th)
Goals: 0 G (T667th)
Assists: 1 A (T668th)
Points: 1 P (T697th)
Point-Per-Game: 0.17 P/G (T599th)
Andrew is in his 8th year reporting for The Hockey Writers covering the Toronto Maple Leafs. He began his broadcasting with CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada team as well as being part of their coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. He’s the former play-by-play voice of the London Jr. Knights for Rogers TV and currently hosts the Sticks in the 6ix podcast. You can follow him on Twitter at @AndrewGForbes.