Jokerit likely to push for Gagarin Cup
Jokerit shocked everyone last season and emerged as one of the league contenders behind the powers of SKA St. Petersburg and CSKA Moscow. The Finnish club prided themselves as a strong team that can battle against the best that the KHL has to offer.
Last season was one of the biggest runs that the club has ever seen. They did beat Lokomotiv in six games before being forced to withdraw from the Gagarin Cup as the pandemic ended the playoffs. Jokerit wants to be a force to be reckoned with, as the team has not seen the conference finals in years. It seems that the team is poised for a better run this time.
A better coaching staff and their experience in the last run proves to be a great starting point for the club’s path to prominence this year. Jokerit did boast the second-best offence in the league by notching the goal 184 times. They were just behind CSKA's 202 goals, and that says a lot for a team that has been in the league for quite some time.
The only downside was their defence. Though it was not much of a concern, the team did concede a few goals too much. Jokerit can be compared to HC Sochi - a team that didn’t even make the playoffs - who allowed 164 goals in the season. Putting a lot of attention on the defensive end might just make them a more dangerous foe in the West.
The experience of coach Lauri Marjamaki has been great for the team. In his third season, he has changed the team’s fortunes and proved that his last two-year stint with the Finnish national team was really worth it. He is known for his efficient offence and creative plays in the game.
The 43-year-old coach will bring a lot more to the table compared to last season. He has shown the ability to read plays and he is really expected to come up with a bigger standard of play for the team. After all, the playoffs are a long road ahead that the team must prepare themselves for.
Retaining Mikko Lehtonen was a big win for the team as well. Eeli Tolvanen’s presence will also bring a lot of energy in the game after he net 25 goals for the team in 2019. The 21-year-old will surely improve to a bigger level this season.
The team has also added Jakub Krejcik, Jonathan Pudas, and Niklas Friman to bolster their defensive line. In addition, Jordan Schroeder’s arrival from Torpedo might have a big impact on the team’s centre spot. After all, he does have a fine way of leading the charge by himself.
All things considered, the team is clearly on the pace of making a big title run for the upcoming season.
Words: Paul Daniel Flores