Checking in with the Blackhawks 2017 Draft class

Since there’s an All-Star Game today, let’s update the Blackhawks 2017 NHL Draft class.

Henri Jokiharju, D
Drafted: 1st round – 29th overall

Portland Winterhawks (WHL) – 40 games, 7 goals, 38 assists, 45 points
Finland (WJC) – 5 games, 2 goals, 2 assists, 4 points

“Jokiharju has been one of the top defensemen in the WHL this season and had a quality world junior tournament. He’s a smooth player. He won’t stand out with a flashy rush, but he makes a lot of quality plays all over the ice and can QB a power play.  Jokiharju’s skating stands out when you watch him due to how fluid a skater he is and how he can transition the play with his feet. He has excellent vision and makes a lot of high-level passes. He has some skill, but I don’t see him as a player who relies on his hands. Defensively he’s solid for his age, but he needs to get stronger and more confident checking before he reaches the NHL.” – Craig Custance, The Athletic

Ian Mitchell, D
Drafted: 2nd round – 57th overall

University of Denver (NCAA) – 26 games, 2 goals, 19 assists, 21 points

“Mitchell was a player who intrigued me last season as a draft-eligible player at various events, but this season he’s firmly established in my mind that he’s a top prospect. He’s been the top defenseman on one of the best college teams in the country as an 18-year-old. He brings a lot of components to the table in terms of his skating and skill, but his IQ stands out the most to me. Mitchell is very calm moving the puck and controls things well on the PP. He isn’t offense-only, as he plays tough minutes and kills penalties in Denver, and despite being small, he defends OK.” – Craig Custance, The Athletic

Andrei Altybarmakyan, F
Drafted: 3rd round – 70th overall

SKA St. Petersburg (KHL) – 13 games, 0 points
SKA-Neva St. Petersburg (VHL) – 24 games, 9 goals, 8 assists, 17 points
SKA-1946 St. Petersburg (MHL) – 7 games, 3 goals, 2 assists, 5 points
Russia (WJC) – 5 games, 1 goal, 2 assists, 3 points

“We started watching him last year’s draft. We didn’t watch him hard, but he popped up in a few of the international tournaments and we had reports on him. Then going into this year, his name kept coming up, we spent a lot of time at St. Petersburg to see him, we actually brought him into Chicago to get to know him a little bit. Just the way he plays the game, his personality is contagious. We’re really excited about him.” – Mark Kelley, Blackhawks VP of amateur scouting

Evan Barratt, F
Drafted: 3rd round – 90th overall

Penn State University (NCAA) – 22 games, 7 goals, 6 assists, 13 points

“Freshman Evan Barratt boasts an impressive .541 face-off percentage this season, but since the Chicago Blackhawks third-round missed time early in the season, he has taken less face-offs this year than Berger, Pavlychev and Nate Sucese by a wide margin.” – Patrick Burns, The Daily Collegian

Tim Söderlund, F
Drafted: 4th round – 112th overall

Skellefteå AIK (SHL) – 31 games, 6 goals, 3 assists, 9 points
Sweden (WJC) – 7 games, 2 goals, 3 assists, 5 points

“Tim Söderlund has made a habit of standing out. While his name might not have rang the same bells in the press as Swedish world junior teammates like Elias Pettersson or Rasmus Dahlin, make no mistake: Söderlund made an impact on the team, as he has consistently done in the past. The Chicago Blackhawks pick was a force in Buffalo and while I don’t want to raise expectations too much, he really looks like he could be the next Viktor Arvidsson.” – Ryan Kennedy, The Hockey News

Roope Laavainen, D
Drafted: 4th round – 119th overall

HPK (Liiga) – 33 games, 0 goals, 4 assists, 4 points

“We thought this year, the strides he made from September through April, he just kept coming and coming. He has good size, another right-handed shot, he skates well, he plays really well with his partner.” – Kelley

Parker Foo, F
Drafted: 5th round – 144th overall

Union College (NCAA) – 27 games, 1 goal, 4 assists, 5 points

Jakub Galvas, D
Drafted: 5th round – 150th overall

HC Olomouc (Czech) – 34 games, 1 goal, 8 assists, 9 points
Czech (WJC) – 7 games, 0 goals, 2 assists, 2 points

Joshua Ess, D
Drafted: 7th round – 215th overall

University of Wisconsin (NCAA) – 29 games, 2 goals, 2 assists, 4 points

“For a seventh-round draft pick, that’s an outstanding pick. Great poise, great confidence. He’s a sponge – when you try to teach him something, he gets it immediately… He’s a couple years away, but he’ll be on that (United Center) ice soon.” – UW coach Tony Granato

5 thoughts on “Checking in with the Blackhawks 2017 Draft class

  1. Mitchell is having a Fabulous year at Denver. I can’t get over how good he looks against older competition as a natural 18-year-old freshman.
    Great skater, really nice wrist shot that almost always is on net.

    I really like Ess as well. Granato trusts him with big minutes, as well as late in the games. Last year he was playing high school hockey in Minnesota, he has transitioned to major Division 1 college hockey, amazingly well. Usually it takes at least one year to acclimate to playing against bigger older players, but in the half dozen or so times, I’ve watched him, he certainly looks like he belongs.

  2. Drafting in the NHL is difficult. You get a top 3 picks that are Busts and guys like Benn and Datsyuk in the 5th round.
    Good luck to these young men. The WHOLE WORLD is playing hockey these days and sending guys to the NHL. It’s not easy. Although, the Blackhawks need Defenseman NOW, not 4 years from now

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