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Olli Jokinen retires after signing one-day deal with Florida Panthers

By The Sports Xchange
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Olli Jokinen retires after signing one-day deal with Florida Panthers
St. Louis Blues Olli Jokinen of Finland turns up ice in the third period against the Calgary Flames at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis on April 2, 2015. St. Louis won the game 4-1. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

March 8 (UPI) -- Olli Jokinen is calling it a career after 17 seasons, and he is going out with the team loves.

The 38-year-old center signed an honorary one-day contract with the Florida Panthers, who he played for from 2000 until 2008, in order to officially announce his retirement, the team announced Tuesday.

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"My heart has always been with the Panthers organization and now I feel like my career has come full circle," Jokinen said in a statement. "I am extremely grateful that I had the chance to play hockey in South Florida and help the sport grow."

The Panthers plan to honor Jokinen during the second period of Tuesday night's game against the New York Rangers at BB&T Center.

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Jokinen played for 10 different teams during his NHL career, but spent the bulk of his career in Florida. In seven seasons with the Panthers, the Kuopio, Finland native had 188 goals and 231 assists over 567 games.

He served as the Panthers' captain from 2003 until his departure in 2008.

"Olli is an important player in the history of the Panthers franchise and he remains a fan favorite," Panthers president of hockey operations Dale Tallon said. "We are proud to give Olli the opportunity to retire as a Panther and we congratulate him on a long, successful and productive National Hockey League career."

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Jokinen is the Panthers' all-time leader in points (419), goals, game-winning goals (36), overtime goals (10), power play points (153) and shots (1,837). He ranks second in assists and power play goals (65).

In the 2007-07 campaign, Jokinen became the second Panthers player in franchise history to record at least 90 points, producing career-high totals of 39 goals and 52 assists. He ranked 10th in the Eastern Conference that season in goals and points among Eastern Conference skaters.

Jokinen hasn't played since the 2014-15 season, when he played for three teams -- the Nashville Predators, Toronto Maple Leafs and finally the St. Louis Blues.

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He also spent time with the Los Angeles Kings, New York Islanders, Phoenix (now Arizona) Coyotes, Calgary Flames, Rangers and Winnipeg Jets, totaling 321 goals and 429 assists (750 points) in 1,231 career contests.

Among Finnish-born players, Jokinen ranks third all-time in goals, fourth in points and sixth in assists in NHL history.

Jokinen was drafted third overall by the Kings in the 1997 NHL Draft, and he made his NHL debut with the team on Oct. 1, 1997 at the age of 19. He was later acquired by the Panthers along with goaltender Roberto Luongo from the New York Islanders for Mark Parrish and Oleg Kvasha on June 24, 2000.

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