2017 Draft Prospect Profile: Henri Jokiharju

The Jackets definitely aren’t opposed to puck-moving European defensemen.

Henri Jokiharju

Position: D
Current Team: Portland Winterhawks (WHL)
Date of Birth: June 17, 1999
Hometown: Oulu, Finland
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 187 lbs.
Shoots: R

The old-school, stay-at-home defenseman has fallen out of favor in today’s up-tempo, offensive NHL. Henri Jokiharju fits the new mold as a right-shot, puck-moving defenseman who helped Finland win an gold medal at the 2016 World U-18 Championship.

Jokiharju can skate extremely well and boasts the ability to get the puck up ice in a hurry. He scored nine goals (with 48 points, leading all WHL rookie defensemen) in his first season for Portland, blossoming after an initial adjustment period and earning Player of the Game Honors at the CHL Top Prospects game. He comes from a hockey family, too: his father, Juha, played professionally for the Finnish Elite League (SM-liiga) throughout the 1980s and 1990s, playing against Columbus Blue Jackets General Manager Jarmo Kekalainen for a couple seasons.

Jokiharju isn’t physically intimidating, but that’s something that can be improved in the professional ranks. He has a solid, all-around game and you know the type by now—good at moving the puck, high hockey IQ and an excellent skater. Most rankings peg the young Finn in the 24-35 range.

Last season, the Blue Jackets found itself with a competitive situation at forward, with several players like Oliver Bjorkstrand, Lukas Sedlak and Sonny Milano knocking at the door during camp and throughout the year making a case for time in the NHL. That hasn’t necessarily been the case defensively, which isn’t a bad thing (also, of course, there are fewer players to deal with). Adding a right-handed defenseman who can add some offense would make a great use of any team’s first round pick this far into day one. If he’s available, picking up Jokiharju would make sense.

Career Stats

Henri Jokiharju

2013-2014Jokerit U16Jr. C SM-sarja Q20552
Jokerit U16Jr. C SM-sarja326172314
2014-2015Jokerit U18Jr. B SM-sarja37822306
Finland U16 (all)International-Jr81672
Finland U18 (all)International-Jr10000
2015-2016Tappara U18Jr. B SM-sarja00000
Tappara U20Jr. A SM-liiga479202920
Finland U18Hlinka Memorial50220
Finland U17WHC-1751012
Finland U18WJC-18703310
2016-2017Portland WinterhawksWHL719394838
Finland U20 (all)International-Jr70110

Scouting Reports

“The freshly turned 18-year-old is your prototypical new age defender. He’s not the biggest player but skates well, offers solid offensive awareness and promising defensive zone coverage. His U18 tournament left scouts with the impression that he can step up in big games and consistently make safe plays. Always quick to make a smart outlet pass, Jokiharju is also adept at skating the puck out of the defensive end and pushing the pace to set up offensive chances.” - Dobber Prospects

“No real weakness. Tools to be a two-way d-man at the #NHL level that can play all situations.” - ISS Hockey

“He's an excellent skater, elusive with the puck and can beat the forecheck with a pass or his feet. He had three assists in seven games to help Finland win the gold medal at the 2016 World U-18 Championship.” - Mike Morreale


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