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Chicago Blackhawks’ 2017 NHL Draft: Quick Breakdown Of Selections

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June 23, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; A general view of a video board displaying all thirty-one first round selections in the 2017 NHL Draft at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
June 23, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; A general view of a video board displaying all thirty-one first round selections in the 2017 NHL Draft at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Chicago Blackhawks wound up with nine choices in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, and Blackhawk Up has what you need to know about each of them

After the dust settled Saturday afternoon at the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, the host Chicago Blackhawks had made eight selections across seven rounds. Before that, they made trades that saw Niklas Hjalmarsson and Artemi Panarin depart while Brandon Saad came back in the fold.

The Blackhawks took five defensemen and four forwards while wheeling and dealing just as they had before the draft. General manager Stan Bowman had just one pick to make after No. 150 in Round 5, with the draft ending at No. 217 in Round 7.

Today, Blackhawk Up has the basics on each of the Blackhawks’ nine draft selections. Let’s take a look at what Bowman came up with this year.

D Henri Jokiharju

Selected: First round, No. 29 overall

Team: Portland Winterhawks (WHL)

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The 18-year-old Finnish blueliner was taken with Chicago’s first pick of the draft after they traded down three spots with the Dallas Stars. Interestingly, the Stars used that choice to take the first goaltender of the draft, Jake Oettinger, adding to their haul of 800 or so goalies on the team.

But back to Jokiharju. He checks in at 6-foot, 180 pounds, and he recently finished his first season of North American hockey. Jokiharju put up a solid 48 points, on the strength of 39 assists, in that 71-game campaign for Portland, adding three points in 11 postseason affairs.

Jokiharju is described by ISS Hockey as a player with “no real weaknesses” and one with the “tools to be a two-way D-man at the NHL level that can play all situations.” NHL.com’s Mike Morreale described Jokiharju as “an excellent skater (who is) elusive with the puck and can beat the forecheck with a pass or his feet.”

One big selling point for Jokiharju is that he’s a right-handed shot, something the Blackhawks found themselves lacking on the blue line recently. As long as his slight stature isn’t too difficult for him to overcome at the NHL level, Jokiharju could find himself a nice role someday.

For more on Jokiharju, check out Blackhawk Up writer Jeff Franklin’s take on the selection.

D Ian Mitchell

Selected: Second round, No. 57 overall

Team: University of Denver (incoming freshman)

The Blackhawks continued to go with defense here, taking an 18-year-old who has spent the last two seasons playing in the Alberta Junior Hockey League. Mitchell, a native of Alberta, Canada, is set for NCAA action this upcoming school year with Denver, the reigning national champion.

Mitchell is another right-handed shot for the Blackhawks off the blue line, and he checks in at 5-11, 173 pounds. So another slight-of-size defenseman — not something the Blackhawks are afraid of scouting, obviously.

Looking at what others have had to say about Mitchell, we turn to Last Word on Sports’ Ben Kerr for more. Kerr says Mitchell has “excellent skating ability” that makes up for his lack of size, adding that Mitchell is “very good at starting the transition game” while also maintaining “a quick stick” and “good gap control.”

On the downside, Kerr says Mitchell needs to work on improving his shot at the net while also adding some muscle. Still, Kerr thinks Mitchell compares to Minnesota defenseman Jared Spurgeon at this time.

RW Andrei Altybarmakyan

Selected: Third round, No. 70 overall

Team: Serebryanye Lvy St. Petersburg (Russia’s Maritime Hockey League); SKA-Neva St. Petersburg (Supreme Hockey League)

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  • Another 18-year-old, this left-handed shot checks in from Russia and at a forward position. The 5-11, 183-pounder continues to fit the Blackhawks’ mold of going small and quick in this draft.

    Altybarmakyan is described by CSN Chicago’s Charlie Roumeliotis as “an offensively skilled player” who carries a “sneaky good shot” into games. Altybarmakyan netted 41 points in 31 regular-season games last year with Serebryanye Lvy, adding another nine points in 27 games with SKA-Neva.

    C Evan Barratt

    Selected: Third round, No. 90 overall

    Team: Penn State (incoming freshman)

    He’s 18, and he just hits 6 feet tall. Bowman really does hit his profile when he wants to. Barratt is a 188-pound left-handed shooter who has most recently logged 61 games across two seasons with the U.S. National Team — the U-17 and U-18 versions, respectively.

    Barratt was the first U.S.-born selection for the Blackhawks in this year’s draft, a native of Bristol, Pa. But while he fits the Blackhawks’ mold size-wise in this draft, he differs from the three previous picks, according to Last Word on Sports’ Kerr.

    Barratt’s weakest point, according to Kerr, is his skating ability. Barratt, who tallied 41 points in his U.S. National Team stints, has a “sluggish” first step, according to Kerr. However, there are much more positive reviews after that. Kerr describes Barratt as “a sniper” who can win board battles and who is also “advanced” in the defensive zone. Stylistically, Kerr refers to Barratt in the mold of Philadelphia’s Sean Couturier.

    C Tim Soderlund

    Selected: Fourth round, No. 112 overall

    Team: Skelleftea AIK (Swedish Hockey League)

    A 19-year-old to shake things up, the Swede Soderlund checks in at just 5-9 and 163 pounds. He got his first extended semi-professional action this past season with Skelleftea AIK, contributing 7 points in 39 games.

    The left-handed shot went undrafted last year but was ranked No. 66 among European skaters by NHL Central Scouting heading into this draft. Elite Prospects describes Soderlund as a “very speedy skater with excellent work ethic,” adding that he “is rather shifty and plays with plenty of intensity.”

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    This is an interesting analysis of a player taken in the middle of the draft. It doesn’t appear Soderlund is a major scorer, but the Blackhawks have found use for forwards who don’t score much (see Marcus Kruger, Tanner Kero).

    D Roope Laavainen

    Selected: Fourth round, No. 119 overall

    Team: Jokerit U-20 (Finland)

    There isn’t a lot written online about Laavainen. What we do know is the 18-year-old checks in at 6-2 and 200 pounds, making him by far the biggest draftee, size-wise, for the Blackhawks up to this point.

    Laavainen most recently played for the same team former Blackhawk and fellow Finn Teuvo Teravainen once occupied. Laavainen contributed 21 points in 48 games last season, and he’s another right-handed shot from the blue line.

    F Parker Foo

    Selected: Fifth round, No. 144 overall

    Team: Union College (incoming freshman)

    More has been written about Foo’s older brother, Spencer Foo, who has spent the last three seasons playing right wing at Union College. Now it’s Parker Foo’s turn to impress, but one NHL team he’s already impressed is the Blackhawks.

    Foo is 18, and the Alberta native checks in at 6-1, 170 pounds. The left-handed shot most recently spent time with the AJHL’s Brooks Bandits, tallying 93 points across 104 regular-season games and six more points in 13 postseason games. The 2016-17 campaign was a breakout one for Foo, who netted 66 points in just 60 contests.

    D Jakub Galvas

    Selected: Fifth round, No. 150 overall

    Team: Olomouc HC (Czech League)

    Another right-handed blueliner, Galvas pops up at a slight 5-11, 161 pounds. The Czech defenseman was described by The Draft Analyst‘s Steve Kournianos as “a dependable two-way defenseman with top-four upside” who is “a solid option on the powerplay.” He tallied six points in 36 games last season with his home-country team.

    D Josh Ess

    Selected: Seventh round, No. 215 overall

    Team: University of Wisconsin (incoming freshman)

    The only other American-born player taken by the Blackhawks in this draft was the third-to-last selection. Ess has limited semi-pro experience, having taken part in two games with the USHL’s Cedar Rapids RoughRiders last season and tallying an assist.

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    The left-handed shot from Burnsville, Minn., was rated as a “C” prospect by the NHL’s Central Scouting Department, meaning he was likely to go in the fourth through sixth rounds of the draft. So him going in the seventh round isn’t any sort of major departure.

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