Jyrki Jokipakka’s end with the Stars, and beginning with the Flames

Jryki Jokipakka has now been with the Flames for two weeks. During that time, the Flames haven’t been up to optimal circumstances on defence; that is to say, not all of their defencemen have been available. Dennis Wideman has been suspended up until a game ago, but by the time he came back, T.J. Brodie was out with injury.

And so, Jokipakka has been shuffled around. When he was on the Dallas Stars, he was played primarily in a third pairing role; with the Flames, he’s started off there, but has also played his last two games as a member of the top four.

In short: he’s still finding his role here, and much of the rest of this season will probably be devoted towards that. We can take a quick look at how he’s done so far in Calgary, though – and how it’s compared to his start to the season in Dallas.

With the Flames

So far, in Calgary, Jokipakka has spent most of his time on defence with Deryk Engelland and Jakub Nakladal: low-minute, bottom pairing guys. We can also take a look at just who he’s shared much of his ice time with when it comes to forwards, as well.

Via Corsica, here’s Jokipakka’s WOWY chart with the top 10 Flames he’s played with:

corsica kevin cgy

The chart is ordered alphabetical by first name, not by ice time. 

Of the two defencemen on this list, it appears that, at least so far, Jokipakka is much better with Nakladal than he is with Engelland. In their meagre time together thus far – 24:45 – Engelland and Jokipakka look to be, well, absolutely horrific together. Jokipakka posts better numbers away from Engelland, but Engelland also looks better away from Jokipakka.

Nakladal, however, appears to be a fit. Granted, they haven’t spent much time together either – 23:52 – but the ice times are almost identical, and the results are polar opposites. With Engelland, Jokipakka is a 30% player; with Nakladal, he’s a 60% guy. Nakladal may be a bit better away from Jokipakka thus far, but what more could you want out of your bottom pairing?

This may change if Jokipakka gets more chances in the top four, but the early returns paint a pretty clear picture for who Jokipakka should be playing with if he’s to stay on the bottom.

They also show just how strong he can be with Mikael Backlund and Michael Frolik, who are the two Flames he’s spent most of his time with; in contrast, Jokipakka appears to be stronger when separated from Joe Colborne, Lance Bouma, Brandon Bollig, and Josh Jooris.

He also helps bring up Matt Stajan’s play, and doesn’t suffer from playing with him, while Garnet Hathaway appears to be bringing him up – at least thus far.

Mind, these aren’t big numbers with Jokipakka. They’re just a glimpse of his start with a new team.

With the Stars

Here’s the team Jokipakka spent most of the season with. Every player below, Jokipakka played over 100 minutes with: but mind, the only defenceman was Jordie Benn, whom he played 344:03 5v5 minutes with.

corsica kevin dal

Jordie Benn is the sixth player listed: and, apparently, the only player who really suffered when away from Jokipakka.

This is good. Remember, the Stars are a better team than the Flames; they have better players, so it makes sense several of their guys would be better away from Jokipakka, who’s only a sophomore in the NHL. But the fact his defence partner throughout the majority of the season actually suffered when separated from him – and we’re talking 407:51 5v5 minutes apart, so it’s substantial – indicates the Flames got the better player of the pairing. They brought each other up, sure; but Jokipakka wasn’t relying on Jordie for positive possession play.

(As far as other defencemen Jokipakka played with in Dallas: he and Jamie Oleksiak were positive corsi players away from one another, but just 47.4% CF guys together over 44:02 of ice time; with Esa Lindell [36:14], he was a 60.5% CF player – and while he dropped to 49.6% away from him, Lindell fell to 26.7%, though Lindell didn’t play many games in the NHL. Jokipakka and Johnny Oduya didn’t seem to work together, whereas his performance didn’t change much when alongside Alex Goligoski, but these are much smaller minutes we’re looking at here.)

As per all the forwards he was sharing ice time with: who’s the lifeblood of the Stars? It looks like Jokipakka could at least reach Tyler Seguin’s level when they were playing together, though he was understandably worse without him; the same can’t quite be said for Jamie Benn, but his drop off without Jamie is less steep – and he was still a 49.9% 5v5 CF player without him.

With the Stars, Jokipakka was a 50.34% 5v5 CF player with 36.87% offensive zone starts, and showed potential. With the Flames, he’s been a 51.49% guy with 31.65% OZS, he’ll get the chance to realize it.

  • cberg

    Thanks Ari. I always have a hard time wrapping my head around these charts, as it is not always what it seems to be on the surface. In this case though, it seems pretty clear. Here’s what I’m understanding.

    With Dallas, Jokipakka is a worse Corsi player than virtually every player he’s compared with(except Jordie Benn), and therefore (naturally) together he drags down every other player compared to those players with all other guys (except, again, Jordie Benn). That tells me that except for Jordie Benn Jokipakka was clearly Dallas’ worst D, and helps explain why they were willing to let him go.

    With Calgary, Jokipakka is mixed, he’s better Corsi than some, and worse than others. Next, when looking at Together the variances are much greater than with Dallas, plus some are VERY positive, and one (w/Engelland) is very negative. What does this mean? Although Ari looks at it as “not working well together” I see it as something very different. To me, what it says is the variation in D in Calgary is much wider than on Dallas and so the swings aren’t necessarily so much about Jokipakka alone, but really Jokipakka vs Engelland (for Frolik/Backlund), and Jokipakka vs Brodie for Engelland Apart. In other words Jokipakka versus Calgary’s other D options, plus the fact? that Calgary has a much broader range of Corsi-quality in their D than Dallas does.

    The bottom line to me is that Jokipakka is clearly a middle of the pack defence man in Calgary’s current D, which also is pretty much what my eye test says when I watch him. That’s a long ways around to explain he is currently 2nd pairing on Calgary, which is also where BH has him currently slotted.

  • DestroDertell

    “This is good. Remember, the Stars are a better team than the Flames; they have better players, so it makes sense several of their guys would be better away from Jokipakka, who’s only a sophomore in the NHL.”

    In general, yes, the Stars have better players and are the better team, but no way in hell they have a better defense. That’s the only thing that matters to CF%Rel, WOWY, etc.

      • DestroDertell

        Not that it’s a smart decision anyway, but I’ll take a wild guess and say he wouldn’t be playing 26 minutes if their two best dmen weren’t out.

      • Rock

        According to Ari Russel was a 5 or 6 defenseman on the flames. I guess Lindy Ruff and Bob Hartly don’t know anything about hockey first hand playing him in the top 4.
        The other thing Dallas has that is helping Russel is he doesn’t have to play with Hamilton and Wideman who is aweful at defense.

      • Jumping Jack Flash

        I have been checking the stats on Russell with Dallas and he has logged more minutes than the top 2 defenders in some games….Ruff really seems to like and trust him to the point that I would not be surprised if they signed him to a long term contract.

        If they like him now, they will love him in the playoffs. Sorry but I have never understood the Russell haters. He has some weaknesses but playing that many minutes with a positive +/- so far with Dallas shows they knew the kind of player they were going after. I would not be surprised if he is a big part of turning our 2nd rounder into a 1st round player at the draft.

        • wot96

          Well that’s just perfect then

          Lots of Flames fans didn’t love Russell but love the compensation we got for him. If he plays well in Dallas, maybe they will love him there. Two happy fan bases and a good thing too as Calgary really couldn’t afford him next year if what we heard about his price was accurate.

          Win-win. Let’s just move on.

          • Canrock 78

            Im sure glad the guy from Innisfail didn’t pay someone to break KR knees. We would not of got much for him then. I’m also glad to has gone to a team that appreciates his efforts.

            Just curious who have you singled out now KR is gone? Haters gonna hate.

          • wot96

            My dislike for certain players has much more to do with their usage and whether or not they are being given adequate opportunity than any skill or characteristic of the player himself. So, I will probably be directing my “hate”, such as it is, at Bob.

            Like why powerplay and sixth attacker Joe Colborne? Hey third or fourth line guy, sure, no problem. Shootout specialist, sure. But his tools notwithstanding, he just doesn’t do it in the top six.

            Brandon Bollig? Bench warmer. That’s it. His is a wasted roster spot, imo. But that’s not his fault.

            So yeah, it will be Bob that gets my attention.

          • Jake the Snail

            The Russell trade with the Stars will be a Win-Win for Calgary and Dallas. The bonus will be a first rounder. Steal of a deal for the Flames but Dallas got what they wanted. Certainly better than Hamhuis who publicly stated he would return to Vancouver. I can’t see Russell signing anywhere else now but Dallas unless the Flames were able to dump Wideman and Smid!

      • Johnny Goooooooaldreau

        Don’t you know that bloggers who think that a game of ebb and flow with 10 combatants (variables) are smarter than people who work in the NHL?

        • mattyc

          – it has nothing to do with bloggers,

          – what is ebb and flow even

          – there’s 12 players on the ice, and they’re not variables (or combatants)

          – stop pleading to authority, it’s a weak argument, and it’s not like these guys are never wrong.

  • DestroDertell

    Remember, the Stars are a better team than the Flames; they have better players, so it makes sense several of their guys would be better away from Jokipakka, who’s only a sophomore in the NHL.

    In general, the Stars are a better team and do have the better players, but no way they have the better defense and that’s the only thing that matters for a defenseman when it comes to their relative numbers.

  • DestroDertell

    Remember, the Stars are a better team than the Flames; they have better players, so it makes sense several of their guys would be better away from Jokipakka, who’s only a sophomore in the NHL.

    In general, the Stars are a better team and do have the better players, but no way they have the better defense and that’s the only thing that matters for a defenseman when it comes to their relative numbers.

  • DestroDertell

    Remember, the Stars are a better team than the Flames; they have better players, so it makes sense several of their guys would be better away from Jokipakka, who’s only a sophomore in the NHL.

    The Stars are a better team, but no way they have a better defense which is the only thing that matter for defensemen when it comes to their relative numbers.

  • DestroDertell

    The Stars may be a better team, but they don’t have the better defense, which is the only thing that matters when it comes to relative/wowy numbers.

    So I don’t think it “makes sense” Jokipakka’s old teammates are better away from him. He was just not a good possession player. Of course, he may fits better in calgary, but we’ll need a larger sample size than 25 minutes at best to figure that out.

  • Trevy

    Most of you are comparing Joki, who’s a sophomore, to a 28yr vet defenseman in Russell. Seriously!? How about comparing Joki in another 6 yrs to what Russell is now. The kid has also been juggled with various defense pairings, a new city, coach and defense system, which sucks if I may add. Yes Russell is also in the same situation but he’s been in the NHL much longer and has the maturity and experience to cope with change not to mention, was expecting the trade, so he had time to prepare.

    I’m not completely defending Joki, but just saying that it’s an unfair judgement and to give the kid a chance to gain some stability and experience before you compare him to Russell. Furthermore, he was ONE piece out of 3 in return in this trade! Pretty decent if you ask me!

  • Trevy

    Most of you are comparing Joki, who’s a sophomore, to a 28yr vet defenseman in Russell. Seriously!? How about comparing Joki in another 6 yrs to what Russell is now. The kid has also been juggled with various defense pairings, a new city, coach and defense system, which sucks if I may add. Yes Russell is also in the same situation but he’s been in the NHL much longer and has the maturity and experience to cope with change not to mention, was expecting the trade, so he had time to prepare.

    I’m not completely defending Joki, but just saying that it’s an unfair judgement and to give the kid a chance to gain some stability and experience before you compare him to Russell. Furthermore, he was ONE piece out of 3 in return in this trade! Pretty decent if you ask me!

  • Trevy

    Most of you are comparing Joki, who’s a sophomore, to a 28yr vet defenseman in Russell. Seriously!? How about comparing Joki in another 6 yrs to what Russell is now. The kid has also been juggled with various defense pairings, a new city, coach and defense system, which sucks if I may add. Yes Russell is also in the same situation but he’s been in the NHL much longer and has the maturity and experience to cope with change not to mention, was expecting the trade, so he had time to prepare.

    I’m not completely defending Joki, but just saying that it’s an unfair judgement and to give the kid a chance to gain some stability and experience before you compare him to Russell. Furthermore, he was ONE piece out of 3 in return in this trade! Pretty decent if you ask me!

  • Trevy

    Most of you are comparing Joki, who’s a sophomore, to a 28yr vet defenseman in Russell. Seriously!? How about comparing Joki in another 6 yrs to what Russell is now. The kid has also been juggled with various defense pairings, a new city, coach and defense system, which sucks if I may add. Yes Russell is also in the same situation but he’s been in the NHL much longer and has the maturity and experience to cope with change not to mention, was expecting the trade, so he had time to prepare.

    I’m not completely defending Joki, but just saying that it’s an unfair judgement and to give the kid a chance to gain some stability and experience before you compare him to Russell. Furthermore, he was ONE piece out of 3 in return in this trade! Pretty decent if you ask me!

  • Trevy

    Most of you are comparing Joki, who’s a sophomore, to a 28yr vet defenseman in Russell. Seriously!? How about comparing Joki in another 6 yrs to what Russell is now. The kid has also been juggled with various defense pairings, a new city, coach and defense system, which sucks if I may add. Yes Russell is also in the same situation but he’s been in the NHL much longer and has the maturity and experience to cope with change not to mention, was expecting the trade, so he had time to prepare.

    I’m not completely defending Joki, but just saying that it’s an unfair judgement and to give the kid a chance to gain some stability and experience before you compare him to Russell. Furthermore, he was ONE piece out of 3 in return in this trade! Pretty decent if you ask me!

  • Trevy

    Most of you are comparing Joki, who’s a sophomore, to a 28yr vet defenseman in Russell. Seriously!? How about comparing Joki in another 6 yrs to what Russell is now. The kid has also been juggled with various defense pairings, a new city, coach and defense system, which sucks if I may add. Yes Russell is also in the same situation but he’s been in the NHL much longer and has the maturity and experience to cope with change not to mention, was expecting the trade, so he had time to prepare.

    I’m not completely defending Joki, but just saying that it’s an unfair judgement and to give the kid a chance to gain some stability and experience before you compare him to Russell. Furthermore, he was ONE piece out of 3 in return in this trade! Pretty decent if you ask me!

  • Trevy

    Most of you are comparing Joki, who’s a sophomore, to a 28yr vet defenseman in Russell. Seriously!? How about comparing Joki in another 6 yrs to what Russell is now. The kid has also been juggled with various defense pairings, a new city, coach and defense system, which sucks if I may add. Yes Russell is also in the same situation but he’s been in the NHL much longer and has the maturity and experience to cope with change not to mention, was expecting the trade, so he had time to prepare.

    I’m not completely defending Joki, but just saying that it’s an unfair judgement and to give the kid a chance to gain some stability and experience before you compare him to Russell. Furthermore, he was ONE piece out of 3 in return in this trade! Pretty decent if you ask me!

  • freethe flames

    Determining where JJ really fits in will take time. The great thing is the Flames have time right now to see where his ceiling is. With Brodie out now is the time to see what he and Nakdaddy are about. I would play JJ with Hamilton and Nakdadday with Gio. I have no problem with Wides and Eng as my 3rd pairing for the rest of the season. When TJ comes back and if everyone else is healthy move JJ back to the 3rd pairing and have Wides and Engs alternate in and out.

  • Trevy

    Most of you are comparing Joki, who’s a sophomore, to a 28yr vet defenseman in Russell. Seriously!? How about comparing Joki in another 6 yrs to what Russell is now. The kid has also been juggled with various defense pairings, a new city, coach and defense system, which sucks if I may add. Yes Russell is also in the same situation but he’s been in the NHL much longer and has the maturity and experience to cope with change not to mention, was expecting the trade, so he had time to prepare.

    I’m not completely defending Joki, but just saying that it’s an unfair judgement and to give the kid a chance to gain some stability and experience before you compare him to Russell. Furthermore, he was ONE piece out of 3 in return in this trade! Pretty decent if you ask me!

  • Trevy

    Most of you are comparing Joki, who’s a sophomore, to a 28yr vet defenseman in Russell. Seriously!? How about comparing Joki in another 6 yrs to what Russell is now. The kid has also been juggled with various defense pairings, a new city, coach and defense system, which sucks if I may add. Yes Russell is also in the same situation but he’s been in the NHL much longer and has the maturity and experience to cope with change not to mention, was expecting the trade, so he had time to prepare.

    I’m not completely defending Joki, but just saying that it’s an unfair judgement and to give the kid a chance to gain some stability and experience before you compare him to Russell. Furthermore, he was ONE piece out of 3 in return in this trade! Pretty decent if you ask me!

  • beloch

    Jokipakka’s biggest weakness is speed. He’s actually pretty slow. However, he seems to make smart plays and I really like him as a third pairing guy. He’s signed for third pairing money through next season, so that’s one spot in the roster Treliving doesn’t have to worry about. Could Jokipakka one day be second pairing material? Perhaps… He really needs to work on his speed though.

    Nakladal is probably closer to being a second pairing option or, if he’ll sign for cheap, a stronger than average third pairing guy who we know has chemistry with Jokipakka. Frankly, I think Nakladal is currently the most mature of the Flames rookie defencemen, which should surprise absolutely nobody given his age. He is a pending UFA though. Nakladal is a guy I’d love to see return, but getting him signed may be challenging.

    Wotherspoon has shown enough promise this season that it’s a no-brainer to re-sign him too. That’s a lot of defence contracts to have on the book. Treliving has some tough (but good to have) choices to make this summer.

    • piscera.infada

      Jokipakka’s biggest weakness is speed. He’s actually pretty slow. However, he seems to make smart plays and I really like him as a third pairing guy. He’s signed for third pairing money through next season, so that’s one spot in the roster Treliving doesn’t have to worry about. Could Jokipakka one day be second pairing material? Perhaps… He really needs to work on his speed though.

      I think his straight-line speed is fine. He actually makes up a fair bit of ground in pursuit. It’s mostly his first few steps, and change of direction–it’s why you see him get beat in the corners and down low sometimes.

      I think the biggest thing I’ve noticed is that he needs to work on his pinching. When it becomes a battle of acceleration, he’s in tough.

  • The Real Slim Brodie

    Thee guy thath tinks yoo needs to spel to know enything aboot hockee dusnt is a just here to pick on people try actually writing something about flames hockey like how amazing johnny and brodie are.

  • Petzl

    Paks speed is an issue but he makes up for it a lot with his reach similar to Chara. Seems very effective with his stick and so far has shown some good flashes of smarts.

  • KevinFan

    Hope y’all don’t mind me throwing in my $0.02. I really loved Jokipakka when he was here in Dallas and was not happy that we lost him. But I’m really glad Kevin is getting more ice time up there, because he wasn’t getting the development time he needed down here, and I’m excited to see what he can be when he has consistent minutes and pairings. I really hope he does well for you.

    I didn’t know much about Russell before the trade, but so far I’m liking his grit, and I like how he’s willing to put himself in the way of the puck. Heck, he got his nose broken in his first practice here… way to make an impression!!

    He fills a role that we need. I don’t know what’s going to happen when Klingberg gets back, but so far I’m a lot happier with this trade than I thought I’d be.

    Take care of Jyrki!