Buffalo, N.Y. (WGR 550) – The Buffalo Sabres have their second signee of Thursday, inking defenseman Henri Jokiharju to a three-year deal worth $7.5 million.
The 22-year-old has played three seasons in the NHL, but none better than after Don Granato took over as head coach for the fired Ralph Krueger. Granato took two young, struggling defensemen when he put Jokiharju and Rasmus Dahlin together and they both responded with their best hockey.
Jokiharju was taken in the first round (29th overall) of the 2017 NHL Draft by the Chicago Blackhawks. In a stunning trade on July 9, 2019, the Blackhawks sent Jokiharju to Buffalo for underachieving Alex Nylander.
In 115 games with Buffalo, Jokiharju has seven goals and 16 assists for 23 points. In 38 games with the Blackhawks, he had no goals and 12 assists. Jokiharju has only spent 30 games in the minors, as he played with the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League during the 2018-19 season.
Jokiharju played twice for Team Finland at the World Junior Championship, scoring four goals and five assists for nine points in just 12 games. He helped Finland win the gold medal in 2019.
With Jokiharju and Casey Mittelstadt signing identical contracts on Thursday, Dahlin is the only restricted free agent that remains unsigned with the Sabres.