The Runner Sports

Chicago Blackhawks 2017 First Round Selection: Henri Jokiharju

At pick 26 in the first round of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, commissioner Gary Bettman announced that the Chicago Blackhawks had traded away the pick to the Dallas Stars for the 29th pick and the 70th pick.

The Stars went on to choose a young goaltender named Jake Oettinger, who many compared to San Jose’s Martin Jones. The U.S.-born netminder spent the last year at Boston University and will presumably spend another year or two there, considering Dallas recently acquired Ben Bishop.

At pick 29, as the sounds of “Chelsea Dagger” rang throughout Chicago’s home ice, GM Stan Bowman…well, GM Stan Bowman didn’t announce the pick. Instead, he brought up two Blackhawks who did not and will not ever need introductions.

Captain Jonathan Toews, the first-round pick in 2006, and star center Patrick Kane, the first-rounder in 2007, came on stage and announced the future of the Blackhawks. Through loud cheers from the crowd, the dynamic duo called out the name of defenseman Henri Jokiharju from the Portland Winterhawks.

Jokiharju, a solid albeit undersized 18-year-old, capped off a phenomenal first round for Finnish players, being the fourth defenseman —  and sixth skater — from Finland to be selected.

For those unfamiliar with Jokiharju, he was a consensus first-round talent from hockey scouts, ranked as the 29th prospect by HockeyProspect and ISS Hockey. Jokiharju finished the 2016-17 season in Portland with nine goals and 39 assists. The kid is fast and can move the puck, making him dangerous at both ends of the ice. He isn’t the biggest defenseman that will lace up for Chicago but he certainly brings a high-level of play to the Blackhawks.

With Friday’s unexpected trade of defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson, it was clear that the Chicago Blackhawks would be making moves in order to get some young defenders in this year’s draft. Stan Bowman wasted no time, taking Jokiharju in the first round.

Tyler Berry

Tyler Berry

Tyler is a digital marketing coordinator moonlighting as a sports writer. He is an avid Indianapolis Colts, Indiana Pacers and Chicago White Sox fan, and has followed the Blackhawks even before Kane and Toews were drafted.
Tyler Berry