2017 NHL draft results: Blackhawks select Henri Jokiharju with No. 29 pick

Jokiharju is the Blackhawks’ first pick in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft.

The Chicago Blackhawks selected defenseman Henri Jokiharju of the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks with the No. 29 overall pick in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft amid cheers from the crowd at the United Center on Friday night.

Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews came on stage to announce the pick, which was the Hawks’ first pick in the first round since Nick Schmaltz in 2014. The Blackhawks originally had the No. 26 pick, but traded down to No. 29, adding the No. 70 pick from the Stars in the process.

We actually used our mock draft pick on Jokiharju just a few days ago, so apparently the Hawks brass were on the same page with us. Jokiharju, a sweet-skating defenseman with a high hockey I.Q. and loads of offensive potential, is a perfect fit for the modern NHL. His mobility makes him an exciting addition to the Blackhawks’ future blue line.

Last season, Jokiharju recorded 48 points in 71 games as a WHL rookie. He was second among defensemen on the Winterhawks behind a player who was two years older than him. In the final 48 games of the WHL regular season, Jokiharju found his groove with 38 points.

Between Jokiharju and Gustav Forsling, the Blackhawks have a couple of exciting defensemen prospects for the future.

The Devils used the No. 1 overall pick in the draft to select center Nico Hischier. The next five picks were center Nolan Patrick (Flyers), defenseman Miro Heiskanen (Stars), defenseman Cale Makar (Avalanche), center Elias Pettersson (Canucks), and center Cody Glass (Golden Knights). Glass is the first draft pick in Vegas franchise history.

The Blackhawks now have nine picks remaining in the draft, which will continue Saturday with rounds 2-7. Next up for Chicago is pick No. 57 overall in the second round, followed by No. 70 overall in the third round. You can keep track of all the picks here.