Blackhawks sign prospect Henri Jokiharju to 3-year entry-level contract

The 18-year-old Finnish defenseman scored a career-high 71 points last season in the WHL.

The Chicago Blackhawks signed top defenseman prospect Henri Jokiharju to a three-year contract, the team announced Tuesday.

Jokiharju, the 29th overall pick in the 2017 NHL entry draft, posted career-highs in points (71), goals (12) and assists (59) in 63 games during his second season with the Portland Winterhawks the Western Hockey League. The 18-year-old Finnish defenseman’s point total tied Swift Current’s Colby Sissions for third among all WHL blueliners.

Last season, Jokiharju registered 20 multi-point games, including a nine-game point streak in November. In two seasons with the Winterhawks, he has posted 21 goals and 98 assists.

Jokahraju, a right-handed shot, posted eight points (three goals, five assists) in 12 playoff games. He also scored four points (two goals, two assists) in five games with Finland at the World Junior Championship. He also won gold at the 2016 under-18 WJC.

The 6-foot, 180-pounder Jokiharju was ranked No. 7 in SCH’s 2017 Top 25 Under 25 series. He’s the highest ranked defenseman on the list not to see NHL playing time.

Jokiharju is the sixth prospect the Blackhawks have signed since March. They inked defenseman Joni Tuulola and Blake Hillman (both 2-year, $1.85 million) and Dennis Gilbert and Lucas Carlsson (3-year, $2.775 million). Forward Dylan Sikura also signed a two-year, $2.775 million contract.