Saturday, June 24, 2017

Bowman, Blackhawks, Trade Down, Select Defenseman Jokiharju

By Randy Holndoner (@bhawkschatter)

Through the first 25 picks in the 2017 NHL Draft, there were no trades.  Then it was Stan Bowman and the Chicago Blackhawks' turn.  Always the dealmaker, Bowman pulled a move come the 26th pick.  The Hawks traded down to the 29th pick, and in the process, gained the 70th pick (3rd rd), from the Dallas Stars.

Similar to most years it seems, the Blackhawks dismantle their current squad to meet the expected salary cap.  Bowman had also promised a shakeup of the roster after the embarrassing exit in the playoffs last year in a 4-game sweep of the 8th seed, Nashville Predators.   Bowman was not kidding.

First, he sent core defenseman, Niklas Hjalmarsson to the Arizona Coyotes in a trade for Connor Murhpy.  Then, a blockbuster trade with the Columbus Blue Jackets,sent star, Artemi Panarin for Brandon Saad.

When it came to the 29th pick, the Blackhawks selected Portland Winterhawks defenseman, Henri Jokiharju.  Jokiharju, 18, is from Tampere, Finland.  This past season was his first played in North America.  He led all WHL rookie defensemen with 48 points (9G 39A) in 71 games, which was also good for 2nd among all defensemen in the league.

Jokihargju has a right-handed shot, which is a commodity in the NHL.  He is considered a very good skater and a puck-moving defenseman.

With the additional 3rd round pick, the Blackhawks will have nine remaining picks for rounds 2-7 on Saturday morning.

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