With training camp approaching, the Caps signed veteran defenseman Jyrki Jokipakka to a professional tryout agreement on Tuesday.
Jokipakka, 26, has played 150 NHL games spread over the past three seasons with Dallas, which drafted him in the seventh round in 2011, Calgary and Ottawa. Last season, he played 38 games with the Flames before being dealt to the Senators at the trade deadline. He played in three games for the Sens.
It’s a low-risk move for the Capitals, who have a few openings on the blue line, including the spare, after losing Karl Alzner and Kevin Shattenkirk in free agency and Nate Schmidt in the expansion draft.
In 18 games with the Flames in 2015-16, Jokipakka, a 6-3, 215-pound left shot Finn, averaged a career-high 17:54 per contest. He has just three goals and 28 points in those 150 games.
The Caps would love to have a couple of their youngsters step up and seize a spot, but there’s no guarantee that will happen. Jokipakka is insurance.
As things stand now, there are five defensemen on one-way contracts—Matt Niskanen, Dmitry Orlov, John Carlson, Brooks Orpik and Taylor Chorney. Veteran AHLer Aaron Ness has a shot at earning a spot, as do Christian Djoos, Madison Bowey and a handful of other well-regarded prospects. Jokipakka can now be added to that mix.
Training camp is set to begin Sept. 15.
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