Photo: Calgary Flames
With the Capitals losing Nate Schmidt, Karl Alzner, and Kevin Shattenkirk in the expansion draft and free agency respectively, the Capitals have a big hole in the top four on defebse. Dmitry Orlov and Matt Niskanen are likely the first pairing, but the Caps have John Carlson and a hole on the second-pairing. The Capitals attempted to fill that hole on Tuesday when they signed Finnish defenseman Jyrki Jokipakka to a professional tryout.
A seventh-round draft pick of the Dallas Stars in 2011, Jokipakka has played 150 games for the Stars, Calgary Flames, and the Ottawa Senators. In his first season in 2014-15, he recorded 10 assists in 51 games played. Jokipakka has scored three goals and 28 points in 150 games. This past year, he had a goal and six points with a minus-3 rating with the Flames before being traded to the Senators at the trade deadline. Jokipakka, 26, played only three games for the Senators and finished with a minus-1 rating. He also represented Finland at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey and was a minus-1 in the two games he played. Finland went 0-3 in the tournament, falling to Russia, Sweden, and Team North America.
To make the Capitals roster, Jokipakka cannot have as many giveaways as last season’s total of 25, compared to just six takeaways. He must also have more than 31 hits. If he plays better defensively during the preseason, he will have a great shot at making the Capitals roster with the losses on the blueline. Bringing a defenseman in on a PTO will also be motivating for young defensemen such as Christian Djoos, Madison Bowey, and veteran Taylor Chorney to make sure they bring their best to camp next week.
Fans will get a first look at Jokipakka when the Caps take the ice in Newark on September 18, when they play the New Jersey Devils and in Washington on September 22, when they host the St. Louis Blues.
By Harrison Brown