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Penguins add Carolina forward Jokinen

| Wednesday, April 3, 2013, 1:54 p.m.
Getty Images
Ondrej Pavelec (31) of the Winnipeg Jets gives up a goal to Jussi Jokinen (36) of the Carolina Hurricanes during the first period at PNC Arena on March 26, 2013 in Raleigh, North Carolina. Jokinen has been traded to the Penguins on april3, 2013.
Carolina Hurricanes' Jussi Jokinen (36) reacts following his goal in a shootout against the Toronto Maple Leafs during an NHL hockey game in Raleigh, N.C., Thursday, Nov. 19, 2009. Carolina won 6-5 in the shootout. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

Jussi Jokinen is a Penguin because of Sidney Crosby's broken jaw.

The Penguins acquired Jokinen, a versatile forward, on Wednesday because Crosby is out indefinitely, general manager Ray Shero said.

Also, Jokinen's former club, Carolina, agreed to paying part of his salary next season, the last on a contract that counts $3 million against the salary cap.

The Penguins will not be on the hook for all of that cap hit because, under the new labor agreement, clubs can retain salary and cap cost for a traded player.

“It made it more appealing for us,” Shero said, declining to identify how much Jokinen will cost the Penguins next season.

The Penguins swapped a conditional sixth- or seventh-round pick in the upcoming NHL Entry Draft for Jokinen.

Jokinen, 30, was third on the Hurricanes, trailing only centers Erik and Jordan Staal, with 283 faceoffs. He won 168 of those draws (59.4 percent).

Faceoff wins are not a Penguins strength without Crosby, who has claimed 54.3 percent of his draws.

Center Joe Vitale, who rarely plays on the penalty kill, leads the Penguins at 63 percent, but he has taken only 211 draws.

Jokinen is a candidate to fill the top-line center role until Crosby returns.

The Penguins had tried right winger Tyler Kennedy, but Shero said playing Kennedy out of position is “not something we'd love to keep doing.”

Upon Crosby's return, and pending the availability of the top three centers, Jokinen could work on a fourth line — just as wingers Pascal Dupuis and the combination of Petr Sykora and Miroslav Satan did for the Penguins during their 2009 playoff run to the Stanley Cup.

“It's always been my strength,” Jokinen said of his versatility. “At junior I played center every other year, and it's been that way since I got to the NHL. Offensive role, defensive role, it's something I've always be able to do.”

Jokinen did not play Wednesday night.

He is scheduled to join the Penguins in Pittsburgh on Thursday for practice.

Rob Rossi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at rrossi@tribweb.com or via Twitter @RobRossi_Trib.

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