The Sabres acquired Jokiharju from the Blackhawks on Tuesday in exchange for forward Alexander Nylander. The two clubs will exchange recent first-round picks, as Jokiharju (No. 29 overall in 2017) and Nylander (No. 8 overall in 2016) swap sides. The 20-year-old blueliner made his NHL debut with Chicago in 2018-19, logging 38 games and supplying zero goals, 12 assists and 16 PIM. He'll presumably contend for a spot on Buffalo's second or third defensive pairing.
Jokiharju was named to Team Finland's preliminary roster for the World Championship on Wednesday. Jokiharju had a solid start to his rookie campaign in 2018-19, notching 12 assists in 38 appearances with the big club, but the Blackhawks ultimately decided to ship him to the minors midway through the season in order to aid his development. The 2017 first-round pick will almost certainly have a full-time role with Chicago in 2019-20, and he could be tasked with quarterbacking the team's top power-play unit, making him a player to keep an eye on heading into fantasy drafts.
The Blackhawks reassigned Jokiharju to AHL Rockford on Saturday. Chicago clearly doesn't think Jokiharju is ready for a regular NHL role, as he only logged 9:14 of ice time during Friday's 5-3 loss to the Avalanche after being recalled on an emergency basis, so he'll remain in the minors for the foreseeable future. He may be recalled towards the end of the campaign if the Blackhawks are able to sneak into the playoffs, but he won't have any fantasy value down the stretch.
The Blackhawks will recall Jokiharju from AHL Rockford on Friday, Chris Wescott of the Blackhawks' official site reports. Jokiharju was sent to the minors in late January when it appeared as though Chicago had no chance of making the playoffs. However, the Blackhawks are now just a single point out of the Western Conference's second wild-card spot, and they're in desperate need of help on the back end, allowing 3.70 goals per game this campaign -- 30th in the NHL. Brent Seabrook is currently sidelined with an abdominal injury and Carl Dahlstrom is dealing with an illness, so Jokiharju could draw into the lineup immediately against the Avalanche on Friday.
Jokiharju was demoted to AHL Rockford on Thursday. Jokiharju was a healthy scratch in three of the Hawks' previous eight games and only averaged 14:24 of ice time when he was in the lineup. The Finn figures to get significantly more minutes with the IceHogs, which should help his long-term development. Additionally, the move could be an indication that Gustav Forsling (upper body) is ready to be activated off injured reserve. This almost certainly won't be the last time we see Jokiharju in an NHL contest this season, as he figures to top the short list of potential call-ups.
Last 7 Games
|3 Year Avg||0||-||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|