Legends of Hockey -- NHL Player Search -- Player -- John Jakopin
An imposing 6'5" defenceman, John Jakopin entered the Florida Panthers' organization as an intriguing project in the late 1990s. There was concern over his defensive play and his apparent unwillingness to use his size to full advantage. However, his skill level for such as big player made him attractive to many scouts.

The Toronto native played in the MTHL before joining the St. Michael's junior B club. After a fine season in 1992-93 he was drafted by the Detroit Red Wings 97th overall that summer. He decided to attend Merrimack University in North Andover, Massachusetts so he could play in the competitive Hockey East conference. He worked on his defensive play and scored 65 points in four seasons with the Warriors. In 1994 he was placed on the conference's all-rookie team and in 1995-96 he led his team in power-play goals.

Jakopin never finalized matters with Detroit and signed as a free agent with the Florida Panthers in 1997. He gained seasoning with the Beast of New Haven of the AHL while being called up for a handful of games between 1997 and 1999. Always active in the community, Jakopin was named the AHL's Man of the Year in 1998 for his charitable endeavours.

In 1999-2000, he was just beginning to settle into a regular spot on the Panthers' blueline when he was felled by a serious abdominal/groin injury. The next season Jakopin looked solid while playing a rugged defensive role for Florida and appeared to find a home in the NHL. After four seasons in the Panthers organization, Jakopin joined the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2001-02. Upon his arrival in Pittsburgh, Jakopin split his time between the Penguins and the team's AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

In the summer of 2002, the hard-nosed defenceman became a member of the San Jose Sharks. In his only seson with the Sharks organization, Jakopin split his season between San Jose and the AHL's Cleveland Barons. In the summer of 2003 Jakopin joined his fourth organization when he signed with the New York Rangers.


REGULAR SEASON PLAYOFFS
Season Club League GP G A TP PIM +/- GP G A TP PIM
1992-93 St. Michael's Buzzers ON-Jr.A 45 9 21 30 42 13 3 2 5 4
1993-94 Merrimack College H-East 36 2 8 10 64
1994-95 Merrimack College H-East 37 4 10 14 42
1995-96 Merrimack College H-East 32 10 15 25 68
1996-97 Merrimack College H-East 31 4 12 16 68
1996-97 Adirondack Red Wings AHL 3 0 0 0 9
1997-98 Florida Panthers NHL 2 0 0 0 4 -3
1997-98 Beast of New Haven AHL 60 2 18 20 151 +12 3 0 0 0 0
1998-99 Florida Panthers NHL 3 0 0 0 0 -1
1998-99 Beast of New Haven AHL 60 2 7 9 154 -10
1999-00 Florida Panthers NHL 17 0 0 0 26 -2
1999-00 Louisville Panthers AHL 23 4 6 10 47 +12
2000-01 Florida Panthers NHL 60 1 2 3 62 -4
2000-01 Louisville Panthers AHL 8 0 1 1 21 -3
2001-02 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 19 0 4 4 42 +2
2001-02 Wilkes-Barre Scranton Pens AHL 30 3 5 8 90 +3
2002-03 San Jose Sharks NHL 12 0 0 0 11 0
2002-03 Cleveland Barons AHL 18 0 4 4 27 -4
2003-04 Hartford Wolf Pack AHL 42 3 4 7 99 +7
2003-04 Binghamton Senators AHL 11 1 0 1 4 +3 2 0 0 0 2
2004-05 ZM Olimpija Ljubljana Slovenia 2 0 2 2 0
2004-05 ZM Olimpija Ljubljana Interliga 3 0 0 0 37
NHL Totals 113 1 6 7 145


Yanick Dupre Memorial Award (AHL - Outstanding Humanitarian Contribution) (1998) Signed as a free agent by Florida, May 14, 1997.
Missed majority of 1999-2000 due to groin injury vs. Carolina, February 1, 2000. Claimed on waivers by Pittsburgh from Florida, October 3, 2001. Signed as a free agent by San Jose, September 5, 2002. Missed majority of 2002-03 due to concussion vs. Milwaukee (AHL), November 30, 2002. Signed as a free agent by NY Rangers, August 21, 2003. Loaned to Binghamton (AHL) by NY Rangers, March 12, 2004. Retired after sustaining the 5th concussion of his career, December, 2004.
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