The Chicago Blackhawks have been faced with an interesting dilemma on their blue line, and it appears they’ve made their decision, as the team sent defenseman Henri Jokiharju down to the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs.
Jokiharju, the team’s first round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, played in 37 games for the Blackhawks and notched 12 assists during his first season. He also helped lead Finland to a gold medal in the World Junior Championships earlier this season.
The Blackhawks were left with a decision as defenseman Gustav Forsling makes his way back to the team after dealing with an injury. With eight defensemen on the roster, the Blackhawks have opted to send Jokiharju down to the minors where he will likely get more consistent playing time and in a lower-stress environment as he deals with his first full season in professional hockey.
Making things easier was the fact that Jokiharju was one of two Blackhawks that doesn’t have to clear waivers to be sent down, lessening the risk that the team could have a player claimed by another club.
The Blackhawks will finally get back on the ice Friday night when they take on the Buffalo Sabres.