By Cara Bahniuk
The Washington Capitals have added another player to the mix that could potentially plug one of their two gaping holes on defense.
Tuesday morning, the Caps announced that they signed six-foot, three-inch Finnish defenseman Jyrki Jokipakka to a PTO or professional tryout agreement. That means Jokipakka will participate in training camp, but has to earn a contract with his play to make the team.
The 26-year-old Jokipakka has played parts of three seasons for the Dallas Stars, Calgary Flames, and Ottawa Senators, and has never become a permanent fixture on any of those teams. He enters training camp with 150 games of NHL experience.
NEWS: Caps sign Jyrki Jokipakka to pro tryout agreement. pic.twitter.com/AAOGXU9PbK
— CapitalsPR (@CapitalsPR) September 5, 2017
After being drafted by Dallas 195th overall in 2011, Jokipakka spent three seasons in the Stars organization. He has since been traded twice during his career. Last season, Jokipakka played in three games for the Senators, but did not appear in any games past April 9, including the team’s entire Eastern Conference Final playoff run.
According to Own The Puck’s hero chart, Jokipakka does not compare favorably to a third pairing defenseman.
Matchsticks & Gasoline, the SB Nation blog for the Calgary Flames, wrote last November that Jokipakka is a sub-replacement level player.
Jokipakka’s numbers over the course of his career have been pretty abhorrent. When taking the numbers over the past three seasons and comparing them to the top 240 defensemen in minutes played in five-on-five situations, he’s barely top 180 in any category (which would be a top six defenseman). He’s there in relative goals for and relative scoring chances for, but just barely at 177th and 179th.
The rest of the numbers, relative Corsi, Fenwick, shots, and xG along with adjusted Corsi and xG are not even top 210, marking him below a seventh defenseman. This would indicate that not only should he not be playing regularly, but that there are concerns whether he should even be on the roster. Basically, he would make a lackluster seventh defenseman or a good eighth defenseman.
Jokipakka will have to step up his game to prove that he belongs on the Capitals. As a left-hander, he would be best served skating next to John Carlson – the only right-handed defenseman without a set partner.
Jokipakka will compete against Taylor Chorney, Christian Djoos, and Lucas Johansen, all left-handers, for a roster spot as well as Madison Bowey and Connor Hobbs.
Ian Oland also contributed to this article.
Headline Photo: Derek Leung
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