By Chris Emma–
CHICAGO (CBS) — The Blackhawks traded down from pick No. 26 to 29 in the first round of the NHL Draft and selected defenseman Henri Jokiharju, an 18-year-old from Finland on Friday evening.
Jokiharju played last season in the Western Hockey League with the Portland Winterhawks, scoring nine goals and posting 39 assists. General manager Stan Bowman called upon Blackhawks stars Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews to announce the selection.
“It’s an amazing feeling,” Jokiharju said after being selected. “Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane called my name. It can’t be a better feeling.”
With the trade, the Blackhawks acquired a third-round pick, 70th overall, from the Stars, a third-round selection. Jokiharju was the Blackhawks’ top target all along, Bowman said.
“We essentially get a free third-round pick out of it,” Bowman said. “That’s a commodity that we can use or decide to move up tomorrow. So it worked out great.”
The Blackhawks last traded in the first round during the 2014 draft, moving up from pick No. 29 to pick No. 20 to select forward Nick Schmaltz. Now, they’ve added another young piece to their organization with Jokiharju.
“He plays a modern style of hockey,” Bowman said. “Great skill set, good skater. Can handle the puck and make plays. I guess what you would term a modern-day defenseman.”
Day 2 of the NHL Draft begins Saturday at 9 a.m. from the United Center. The Blackhawks select again with the 57th overall pick.