The deal was announced roughly an hour before the 3 p.m. ET trading deadline.
The Eastern Conference-leading Penguins -- who last week picked up star Jarome Iginla from Calgary -- added another offensive threat for a relatively low price.
The Hurricanes receive either a sixth- or seventh-round pick from Pittsburgh and will retain a portion of Jokinen's salary. His contract that pays him $3 million per season expires after 2013-14.
"This deal is important for our team's financial flexibility moving forward," Hurricanes general manager Jim Rutherford said.
Jokinen is a noted shootout specialist and fan favorite whose scoring has fallen off during this shortened season.
Jokinen has 30 career shootout goals, and only two players in league history have scored more since the tiebreaker was introduced in 2005-06.
He had six goals and five assists in 33 games with the Hurricanes, who placed him on waivers last week. He went unclaimed and returned to Carolina.
It's the second trade between the clubs in less than a year. Pittsburgh traded center Jordan Staal to the Hurricanes during the draft last June in exchange for Brandon Sutter, a prospect and a draft pick.
Lately, though, the teams have been trending in opposite directions.
The Penguins, who will be without star Sidney Crosby indefinitely with a broken jaw, have 56 points -- five more than second-place Montreal -- and had a 15-game winning streak end Tuesday night in a loss to Buffalo.
Carolina, meanwhile, has fallen from the Southeast Division lead after losing nine of 10 during an injury-plagued slump in which its top two goalies and two key defensemen have been hurt. Most recently, the team announced Wednesday that defenseman Joni Pitkanen will miss the rest of the season with a broken left heel.
Information from ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun and The Associated Press was used in this report.