When the Nashville Predators announced that they had signed free-agent center Olli Jokinen, they knew they were getting an NHL veteran completely dedicated to the game of hockey. Jokinen has been a player that has produced everywhere he’s played and David Poile focused on that when introducing him to the media on Saturday.
“Olli has been a guy that has produced throughout his career offensively,” said Poile. I think this is a significant addition to our hockey club.”
During the interview process that the new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) allowed, head coach Peter Laviolette spent time speaking with Jokinen about the plans for the team.
“Peter Laviolette had a chance to talk to Olli and tell him about our team,” said Poile. “I think after he had that talk with the coach and understood what we were trying to do and understood the opportunity we were presenting to him, it made a lot of sense to him as it did to us.”
Laviolette played an important role in selling Jokinen on signing with the Nashville Predators and that proved to be one of the reasons he signed with the team. Jokinen also recognized the talent on the young Predators team and is looking to build to the future.
“Obviously with the excitement and the passion about the game and ideas of how he was going to coach this team, I think that was one of the biggest reasons that I decided to come here,” said Jokinen. “This team is a really good team. With Pekka in the net and a healthy Rinne, it gives you a chance to win every night. We have the best defensemen in the league in Shea Weber, best young defenseman in the league in Roman Josi…a lot of players that play this game for a long time.”
Jokinen understands that he’s coming to a team full of leaders. He’s been a leader on multiple teams in the past, including serving as captain for the Florida Panthers. For his time in Nashville, he just wants to set an example on the ice.
“I’ve been playing this game for a long time,” said Jokinen. “You have to earn everything. You can make line-ups and make plans, but I’m happy to play any kind of role. At the end of the day, it’s about winning and helping this team win hockey games. You’ve got to come to the rink and bring your work ethic. The best way is to lead by example.”
More leadership will be in the Nashville locker room this fall with the addition of Jokinen. His presence should help in the development of a young center in Calle Jarnkrok as well.
View the full presser with David Poile and Olli Jokinen below.