Blackhawks select eight players on final day of NHL Draft
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The Blackhawks’ whirlwind of a week was capped off with a fairly uneventful draft. But the team did select eight players on the final day of the draft — four defenders and four forwards.
Meet the Blackhawks’ draftees:
Henri Jokiharju — Selected No. 29 overall in the first round
Defenseman from Tampere, Finland
The 6-1 Jokiharju projects as an ideal Blackhawks defenseman. He’s a strong skater and a puck-mover with a right-handed shot. A Hawks fan who had nine goals and 39 assists in 79 games with the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks (who wear uniforms very similar to the Hawks), Jokiharju models his game after the Penguins’ Kris Letang and the Ducks’ Sami Vatanen. He was a member of Finland’s gold-medal team in the 2016 world juniors.
Ian Mitchell — Selected No. 57 overall in the second round
Defenseman from Alberta, Canada
Mitchell, 18, played for the Spruce Grove Saints in the Alberta Junior Hockey League. He had eight goals and 29 assists in 53 games last season. Mitchell, who has committed to play for the University of Denver in 2018, represented Canada in the under-18 world championship, where he had two assists.
Andrei Altybarmakyan — Selected No. 70 overall in the third round
Right wing (shoots left) from St. Petersburg, Russia
Altybarmakyan, 18, has been on the Blackhawks’ -radar since last year’s draft. This past season, he had 20 goals and 25 assists in 31 games in a Russian junior league. Vice president of amateur scouting Mark Kelley said the Hawks were drawn to Altybarmakyan by the way he plays. Kelley also said his “personality is contagious.” Altybarmakyan wasn’t considered a top-100 prospect by TSN or ESPN.
Evan Barratt — Selected No. 90 overall in the third round
Center from Bristol, Pennsylvania
Barratt, from Bristol, Pennsylvania, was overcome with emotion when he heard his name called. “His teammates love him, and his opponents don’t,” Kelley said. Barratt, who is expected to play at Penn State this fall, developed a lot over the last year as a member of the U.S. national development team. He had 18 goals and 38 assists in 63 games. Although he has the skills, Barratt doesn’t have the size of an elite center at 5-11, 187 pounds. But Kelley said he always puts in full effort.
Tim Soderlund — Selected No. 112 overall in the fourth round
Left wing from Sweden
Soderlund was ranked No. 84 by ESPN. He scored twice in seven games in the world juniors for Sweden, and Kelley said the Hawks were impressed by his overall performance in the tournament. Soderlund is considered undersized for his position at 5-9, 163 pounds. But the Hawks don’t see that as a major problem because he’s fast and aggressive. “He plays hard, and he plays inside,” Kelley said. “He’s not a big guy, but he attacks.”
Roope Laavainen — Selected No. 119 overall in the fourth round
Defenseman from Finland
Laavainen played 11 games for Finland’s under-20 team and had two goals and two assists. Though he’s only 18, Laavainen is set to play in Finland’s most competitive league next season. Kelley believes Laavainen’s right-handed shot and skating will help the Hawks.
Parker Foo — Selected No. 144 overall in the fifth round
Forward from Alberta, Canada
Foo just finished his second season with the Brooks Bandits of the Alberta Junior Hockey League. In 104 games for them, he has 42 goals and 51 assists.
Jakub Galvas — Selected No. 150 overall in the fifth round
Defenseman from Czech Republic
Gavlas played for HC Olomouc in the Czech League as an 18-year-old last season. The Central Scouting Service ranks him 26th among European skaters, two spots higher than Altybarmakyan.
Josh Ess — Selected no. 215 overall in the seventh round
Defenseman from Burnville, Minnesota
Ess was the captain for Lakeville South High School in Minnesota, where he had eight goals and 20 assists in 23 games last season. He went on to play in two USHL games for the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders and had one assist. Kelley said he has good instincts and skates well. Ess is expected to play at Wisconsin this fall.