There was a feeling around the Chicago Blackhawks that General Manager Stan Bowman wasn’t done making moves. On Tuesday that proved to be correct, as the Blackhawks dealt defenseman Henri Jokiharju to Buffalo in exchange for forward prospect Alex Nylander.
Nylander, 21, was selected 8th overall by the Buffalo Sabres in the 2016 NHL Draft. He has two years left on his entry-level contract with an $863,333 cap hit. The Sabres burned the first year of his deal last season in which Nylander recorded four points (2G, 2A) in 12 games.
Alex Nylander has spent the majority of his professional career playing for the Rochester Americans of the AHL. He’s played 165 games at the AHL level but only has 30 goals and 56 assists to show for it. Nylander is still considered a prospect at this point of his career, and that’s a bit of a concern. He’s three years into his development and SHOULD be producing better numbers. The Blackhawks are hoping to have another Dylan Strome situation with Alex Nylander.
The Blackhawks Make A Risky Move
On the flip side, it’s a BIG surprise that the Blackhawks dealt Jokiharju for an unproven prospect. Jokiharju played mostly in a top-four role as a 19-year-old last season before falling out of favor with Head Coach Jeremy Colliton. He tallied 12 assists in 38 games at the NHL level. While playing in the AHL last year, he recorded two goals and 15 assists in 30 games. Jokiharju was a casualty of the defensive logjam then, and he is a casualty of the defensive logjam now.
Henri Jokiharju, the Blackhawks first-round pick in 2017, projects to be a top-pairing defenseman in the NHL. As for Alex Nylander, there are still question marks surrounding his future. That’s the biggest concern for Blackhawks fans about this trade. The doubts about Nylander’s work ethic and skill set. He’s yet to show why he was a top-10 pick at the professional level. Giving up Henri Jokiharju was a hefty price for Alex Nylander, but Stan Bowman has been right about these situations in the past.
Here’s to hoping he’s correct about this one as well. (Cheers).
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