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:
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.
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.