Meet the Blackhawks’ 2017 draft picks
by Scott King
Following the biggest blockbuster trades of the offseason on Friday, the Blackhawks made their first draft pick, eventually, at number 29 overall in the first round. Chicago traded the number 26 pick to Dallas for the number 29 and number 70 overall picks earlier in the draft.
The team selected Finnish defenseman Henri Jokiharu at 29. The 18-year-old blueliner registered 48 points in 71 games with the Portland Winterhawks (WHL) last season.
“I’m a real good skater and I play with confidence,” said Jokiharu, describing his game. “I’m a puck moving [defenseman], making good passes, simple passes [that] help other players. I love playing [on] the power play and on the PK too. I want to be a big part of the team.”
On Saturday morning, in the second round, the Hawks selected 18-year-old defenseman Ian Mitchell from Spruce Grove (AJHL) at number 57. The blueliner tallied 37 points in 53 games with the Spruce Grove Saints last season.
For their first pick of the third round at number 70, the Hawks grabbed Russian right-winger Andrei Altybarmakyan. The 18-year-old forward put up 45 points in 31 games with St. Petersburg (MHL) last season and shoots left.
At number 90, Chicago selected American center Evan Barratt from the US Hockey Developmental Program. Barratt, also 18-years-old, was overcome with emotion and still fighting back tears of joy while speaking with the media following his selection.
“Just hearing your named called anywhere is awesome, but especially [by] such a storied franchise and in Chicago. Nothing compares [to it]. It brought tears to my eyes right away. I couldn’t believe it.”
The raw emotion hit the center most when he heard his town mentioned during his official selection.
“A kid from Bristol Pennsylvania, the town, shouldn’t be drafted third round in the NHL,” Barratt said. “Words can’t describe how happy I am. For me and my family, it’s been an awesome weekend and [I] can’t wait to see when it comes.”
Barratt models his game after Ottawa Senators center Derick Brassard. “He’s a 200-foot forward,” Barratt said. “Plays the game in all areas, helps his team with scoring or shutting down the [opposing] first line.”
“I think the fans are really going to like what they see in him,” said Blackhawks Vice President and General Manager Stan Bowman of Barratt.
“He’s really competitive, an ultra-competitive player. He’s got skill too, so I don’t want to sell him short in that department. The thing we liked the most was the way he battled really hard.
“It was great to see him, he was pretty emotional getting picked, you can tell he wants it really bad. That’s the one quality about him we liked the most.”
The Blackhawks traded with Vancouver to get the 112th pick which they used to snag Swedish forward Tim Soderlund in the fourth round. The 19-year-old forward registered three points in 12 games in Sweden’s International Junior league. The Hawks gave up the 135th and 181st overall picks in the trade.
Chicago used the number 119 pick to select another Finnish defenseman, 18-year-old Roope Laavainen. Laavainen tallied four points and a +/- rating of +7 in 11 games in Finland’s International Junior league.
At number 144 in the fifth round, the Hawks took Canadian forward Parker Foo. Foo tallied 66 points in 60 games with the Brooks Bandits (AJHL) last season.
For the 150th pick, Chicago selected 18-year-old Czech defenseman Jakub Galvas. Galvas posted nine points and a +/- rating of +6 in 17 games in the Czech Republic’s International Junior league last year.
The Blackhawks’ final pick in the draft came at number 215 in the seventh round. The team selected 18-year-old defenseman Joshua Ess, a Minnesota native who shoots left.
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