The Portland Winterhawks have signed the two players they selected in last month’s Canadian Hockey League Import Draft, defenseman Henri Jokiharju and forward Joachim Blichfeld.
Jokiharju, a defenseman from Finland taken in the first round of the Import Draft, had nine goals and 20 assists for 29 points in 47 games playing as a 16-year-old with the Tappara U20 team in Finland’s Junior A league last season. In addition, he helped Finland win a gold medal at the World Under-18 Championship this year, as he registered three assists in seven games in the tournament. He also represented Finland at the 2015 World Under-17 Championship, where he had a goal in five games. Jokiharju is eligible for the 2017 NHL Draft.
Blichfeld, a forward from Denmark the Hawks drafted in the second round of the Import Draft, was selected in the seventh round of last month’s NHL Draft by the San Jose Sharks. He played last season in Sweden as a 17-year-old for Malmo’s J20 team in the SuperElit League, where he had 15 goals and 13 assists for 28 points in 45 games. Blichfeld also played in the World Under-18 Championship, totaling four goals and two assists for six points in seven games with his native Denmark.
“We’re excited to sign Henri and Joachim and look forward to seeing them in Portland next month for training camp,” said Portland Winterhawks Vice President, General Manager & Head Coach Mike Johnston. “Joachim will attend San Jose’s training camp, while Rodrigo Abols will go to camp with the Vancouver Canucks. Once NHL camps are complete we’ll have a better idea of how we’ll proceed with our import players.”
Abols was selected in the seventh round of last month’s NHL Draft by the Vancouver Canucks. Entering his 20-year-old season, Abols will be eligible to play in the American Hockey League. Should he return to the Winterhawks instead of being assigned to the AHL, the Hawks will only be able to keep two of their three Import players.
The Winterhawks will open the 2016-17 season on Saturday, September 24 when they host the Seattle Thunderbirds at the Moda Center at 7 p.m.