The Blackhawks didn’t have many prospects playing in North American junior leagues this season. You could turn to the AHL or NCAA or overseas leagues and find many players whose rights are under the Hawks’ control, but at the juniors level, the organization laid claim to only three prospects.

So as we continue our review of the Blackhawks’ prospects across all levels for the 2017-18 season, the focus here is mainly on Henri Jokiharju. The 2017 first-round pick lived up to expectations throughout his second season with the Portland Winterhawks and was added to Finland’s roster pool for the 2018 World Championships next month.

Jokiharju won’t necessarily play for Finland in Copenhagen, but if he does, it could be a chance to face soon-to-be teammates Patrick Kane and Alex DeBrincat, who will play for Team USA. Playing well there could set up the runway for Jokiharju to make the NHL next season.

Here’s a look at the Hawks prospects who spent this season in junior leagues. You can check out our past article on prospects in Rockford here.

D Henri Jokiharju
Age: 18
Acquired via: 2017 first-round pick (No. 29)
Stats: 71 points in 63 WHL games

It’s hard not to be excited about Jokiharju given his potential and the status of the Blackhawks’ defense. The smooth 18-year-old blue liner can skate with the best of them and has shown an impressive ability to move the puck up the ice in the WHL. It’s still an open question how he’ll fare defending his own zone against NHL-caliber competition, but he might get a taste next month at the World Championships.

Everything about this season suggests that Jokiharju was worthy of the first-round pick used to select him. He played well in Portland and for Finland at the World Juniors, where he outplayed prospects with superior pedigrees. He’s in …read more

Source:: Chicago Sun-Times – Sports


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