You can't help but be impressed with Henri Jokiharju five games into his NHL career. At just 19 years of age, the 19-year-old defenseman looks incredibly poised when facing tough minutes and tough opponents.
"Obviously, I'm getting more comfortable," he said.
Jokiharju is third on the team in average ice time with 21:09 per game, behind only Duncan Keith and Patrick Kane.
That number is good for second among rookie defensemen and forwards in the entire league. He's first overall in total ice time (105:44) among rookies.
Playing that much as a young skater in the NHL is more impressive than you might think. It's 21-plus minutes per night against some of the top players on the other team. It's hard work to play against grown men as a young defenseman, but Jokiharju prepared his body for this kind of workload.
"I prepared really well this offseason," he said. "I did a lot of max heartrate, max conditioning and max cardio training. That's helped me a lot."
Jokiharju is hoping with more experience, playing these minutes will just get easier and easier.
"I think that's the one key area where I want to be better," he said. "You want to be better game after game. It's still a new league for me, so there's still an adjustment for me. You have to practice hard and play hard, so you get better all the time and you get more comfortable. Hopefully, someday, the game slows down a little bit and I can do a little bit more."