Jokiharju eyes future with Blue & Gold


Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Henri Jokiharju (28) looks to control the puck against the Montreal Canadiens during the first period of an NHL hockey game Sunday, Dec. 9, 2018, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski)

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – It’s been quite the year for newly acquired Henri Jokiharju.

With the Sabres trading for the young defenseman on Tuesday, it helps bolster the organization’s commitment to adding players that have a winning pedigree.

Jokiharju went two-for-two on the international stage this year, not only winning the World Junior Championship but the World Championship with Finland.

Even though he was in the Blackhawks organization, he had some insight into the Blue & Gold thanks to his Finnish teammates Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen and Oskari Laaksonen.

“Oskar is one of my best friends from my hometown so I hangout a lot with Oskar but obviously a lot, Ukko Pekka is a great goalie, he’s a big guy,” Jokiharju.  “He’s calm in the net and he brings confidence for the team. Oskar is obviously a great upcoming star and he plays a good style of hockey and I think one day we’re gonna play the same time on the Sabres and I think that’s awesome for all of us.”

Along with the possibility of playing with his national teammates, he’s also excited for the opportunity to jump in and make an immediate impact with the big club.

There’s plenty that has to be decided before the regular season begins but there’s no denying Jokiharju was one of the Blackhawks best defenseman and puck movers under head coach Joel Quenneville during his time in Chicago.

With the speed and skill, he possess along with some of the talent the Sabres have Jokiharju is looking forward to hitting the ice in the Fall.

“I think he’s the best skater in the league. If you have that kind of skating you’re already dominating the game,” the 20-year-old said.  “But yeah, for sure he’s a great player and (Rasmus Ristolainen) is one of the best defensemen in the league and obviously Rasmus Dahlin is quite an upcoming star, and it’s great having those guys in the organization.”

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