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Olli Jokinen signs with Predators for one season, $2.5 million

By Brian Stubits | CBSSports.com

Olli Jokinen has a new deal to smile about. (Getty Images)
Olli Jokinen has a new deal to smile about. (Getty Images)

More NHL Offseason: NHL rumors | Rumor mill | Trade Tracker | 2014-15 preseason odds

The Nashville Predators wanted a center this summer and on Wednesday they got one, even if it's not exactly of the Jason Spezza quality.

Olli Jokinen, most recently of the Winnipeg Jets, is on his way to Nashville. Nick Kypreos reports the deal is for very reasonable parameters: one season and $2.5 million.

"Olli Jokinen is a proven veteran center who will provide us with size, leadership and offensive ability in the tough Central Division and Western Conference," GM David Poile said. "He provides our coaching staff with more depth and options at the forward position and coach Laviolette believes he is a good fit for our style of play."

He's certainly not the type of centerman that's going to be a top-line guy anymore, he isn't a guy you figure they'll try to put up top with James Neal on his wing. But for a third-line center behind (for now) Mike Fisher and Matt Cullen? You could do worse if you're Nashville, we'll say that much.

In Winnipeg last season Jokinen showed he can still score some, even if his possession metrics were pretty terrible. He played all 82 games and finished with 18 goals and 25 assists while averaging 17:01 of ice time per game. For $2.5 million, that's pretty solid production, assuming the Predators don't try and ask him to do more than he should.

What will be interesting to see is if the Predators will still chase another centerman. You'll recall they tried to land Spezza before he was dealt to Dallas but Spezza nixed the deal.

This was just the first signing of free agency for Nashville, which was pretty active last year. With Jokinen, the Predators become the final team to sign a player in July.

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