July 25, 1981|
|Height||6 ft 1 in (185 cm)|
|Weight||209 lb (95 kg; 14 st 13 lb)|
13th overall, 1999|
Jani Markus Rita (born July 25, 1981 in Helsinki, Finland) is a Finnish former professional ice hockey winger who last played with Jokerit of the Russian KHL, for whom he played most of his career.
Despite limited NHL experience, Rita has played extensively in the American Hockey League and in the SM-liiga in his native Finland. Rita started his hockeycareer in a youth team of EKS (Espoon Kiekkoseura). He played his first seasons of pro hockey for Jokerit, Helsinki, and was drafted 13th overall in the 1999 NHL Entry Draft by the Edmonton Oilers.
Rita played for HPK in the SM-liiga during the 2004–05 NHL lockout, winning the bronze medal. That season he was awarded the Raimo Kilpiö trophy, and led the league in scoring during the playoffs. He also represented Finland at the 2005 World Hockey Championship, earning one assist. He had signed with Jokerit for the 2005–06 season with a contractual clause enabling him to return to the NHL. When the Oilers offered him a one-year contract in August 2005, Rita signed on to return to North America.
Although once considered a premier prospect at the NHL level, Rita's slow development showed cause for concern to Oilers management. On January 26, 2006, Rita was traded along with Cory Cross, to the Pittsburgh Penguins for Dick Tärnström. He finished the season with just 10 points in 51 games.
It was announced on 2 May 2006 that Rita was to depart Pittsburgh to return to his original club, Jokerit. He was the best goal scorer of SM-liiga in 2006–07 season. After ten more years with Jokerit including the club's transition from the Finnish Liiga to the KHL in 2014, Rita announced his retirement in June 2016.
Regular season and playoffs
- "Jokerien jokeri Jani Rita lopettaa uransa" (in Finnish). yle.fi. 2016-06-27. Retrieved 2016-06-27.
- "Jani Rita lägger skridskorna på hyllan – satsar på studierna". Retrieved 2016-06-29.
- Biographical information and career statistics from NHL.com, or Eliteprospects.com, or Eurohockey.com, or The Internet Hockey Database
| Edmonton Oilers first round draft pick
| Winner of the Raimo Kilpiö trophy
| Winner of the Aarne Honkavaara trophy