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Blackhawks agree to terms with Pokka

by Chicago Blackhawks Media Relations /

The Chicago Blackhawks announced today that they have agreed to terms with defenseman Ville Pokka (VIHL-ee POH-kuh) on a one-year contract that runs through the 2017-18 season.

Pokka, 23, paced all Rockford IceHogs defensemen in points for the second straight season after he registered 30 (6G, 24A) during the 2016-17 season. He is the only member of the club to appear in all 76 regular-season games each of the last two seasons.

The Tornio, Finland, native was named Rockford's Best Defenseman during the 2015-16 campaign after setting career highs in goals (10), assists (35) and points (45). In 220 career AHL games spanning across three seasons, all with Rockford, he has tallied 105 points (24G, 81A). The blueliner was named to the AHL's All-Rookie Team in 2014-15. He won a silver medal with Finland at the 2016 IIHF World Championship and represented his country at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.

Pokka was acquired by the Blackhawks in a trade with the New York Islanders on Oct. 4, 2014. He was originally selected by the Islanders in the second round (34th overall) of the 2012 NHL Draft.

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Blackhawks to host 2017 Prospect Camp from July 17-21

by Chicago Blackhawks Media Relations /

The Chicago Blackhawks will conduct their 2017 Prospect Camp at Johnny's IceHouse West in Chicago (2550 W. Madison St.) from Monday, July 17, to Friday, July 21.

On-ice sessions will begin on Monday, July 17, and will run from approximately 1:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m. at Johnny's IceHouse West. Practices will be conducted Monday-Thursday and the group will hold one scrimmage on Friday beginning at approximately 9:30 a.m.

A complete roster for prospect camp will be released at a later date.

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Blackhawks agree to terms with Forsberg and Jurco

by Chicago Blackhawks Media Relations /

The Chicago Blackhawks announced today that they have agreed to terms with goaltender Anton (AN-tawn) Forsberg (FOHRZ-buhrg) on a two-year contract that runs through the 2018-19 season and a one-year extension with forward Tomas (TAW-muhs) Jurco (YUHR-koh). Jurco's extension runs through the 2017-18 season.

Forsberg, 24, has split the last three seasons between the Columbus Blue Jackets and their American Hockey League affiliates in Cleveland and Springfield. He has appeared in 10 NHL games, posting a 1-8-0 record with a 4.02 GAA and .879 save percentage.

The Harnosand, Sweden, native posted a 27-17-6 record with a 2.28 GAA and a .926 save percentage in 51 games last season with the Cleveland Monsters. He backstopped the Monsters to a Calder Cup Championship in 2016 with a perfect 9-0 record, along with a 1.34 GAA and .949 save percentage during the playoffs. Forsberg has compiled a 73-35-13 record in 126 career AHL games.

Forsberg was acquired by the Blackhawks in a trade with Columbus on June 23. He was originally drafted by the Blue Jackets in the seventh round (188th overall) of the 2011 NHL Draft. He was a member of the 2012 World Junior Championship team with his native Sweden.

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Blackhawks select eight players on Saturday at 2017 NHL Draft

by Chicago Blackhawks Media Relations /

The Chicago Blackhawks completed the 2017 NHL Draft on Saturday, the first ever held in the city of Chicago. The two-day NHL Draft and Fan Fest, including the League's Centennial Fan Arena attracted a record weekend crowd of 47,514 fans.

Chicago selected eight players on Saturday; defenseman Ian Mitchell (57th overall), forward Andrei Altybarmakyan (70th overall), center Evan Barratt (90th overall), forward Tim Söderlund (112th overall), defenseman Roope Laavainen (119th overall), forward Parker Foo (144th overall), defenseman Jakub Galvas (150th overall) and defenseman Josh Ess (215th overall).


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Photos: Patrick Kane at the 2017 NHL Draft

by Chase Agnello-Dean / Photography Manager

Go behind-the-scenes with Patrick Kane as he visits Fan Fest and makes a surprise appearance at Round 1 of the 2017 NHL Draft with Jonathan Toews.

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Photos: Blackhawks select Henri Jokiharju in Round 1

by Chicago Blackhawks /

Defenseman Henri Jokiharju had a busy draft night after being selected by the Chicago Blackhawks in the first round of the 2017 NHL Draft. The 18-year-old Tampere, Finland, native led the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League tallied 48 points (9G, 39A) and four power-play goals in 71 regular-season games this past season. Read more about Henri Jokiharju.

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Verdict: Generations of Blackhawks draft picks converge on Day 1

by Bob Verdi / Team Historian

Nico, Miro, Jusso, Urho.

These are names to be played later, but the one that matters most to the Blackhawks now is Henri Jokiharju, their first prize in Friday night's National Hockey League Draft at the United Center, where evidence of the sport's globalization was all over the board.

The Blackhawks have been watching Jokiharju for a while -- as recently as earlier this week at drills held nearby. But he's been watching them too.

"When they won the Stanley Cup in 2010, I saw them on TV," the Finnish right defenseman said. "It was maybe four in the morning at home in Helsinki. I became a fan of them then, the way they play, the style. Now to be selected by them, it's unbelievable."

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Blackhawks select Henri Jokiharju in Round 1 of the 2017 NHL Draft

by Chicago Blackhawks Media Relations /

The Chicago Blackhawks have selected defenseman Henri Jokiharju (joh-kee-HAHR-yew) from the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League in the first round (29th overall) of the 2017 National Hockey League Draft presented by adidas at United Center on Friday night. Additionally, the Blackhawks acquired the 29th- and 70th- overall selections of the 2017 NHL Draft from the Dallas Stars in exchange for the 26th overall selection of the 2017 NHL Draft.

Jokiharju, 18, paced all WHL rookie defensemen with 48 points (9G, 39A) and four power-play goals in 71 regular-season games this past season. The Tampere, Finland, native registered eight multi-point games and finished fourth on the Winterhawks with a +14 plus/minus rating during his first season. Jokiharju added three assists in 11 postseason contests.

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Bowman discusses a day of big trades, high emotions

by Chicago Blackhawks Staff /

During Blackhawks Senior Vice President/General Manager Stan Bowman's press conference to address a morning of surprising trades, he began by saying that it was a day of "high emotions." It was a succinct way to characterize the trade that sent long-serving defenseman and three-time Stanley Cup winner Niklas Hjalmarsson to Arizona in exchange for a pair of younger players, including 24-year-old Connor Murphy, a former first-round pick.

Bowman wasn't done, however, and less than an hour later he sent dynamic winger Artemi Panarin to Columbus to secure the return of Brandon Saad, a two-time champion with the Blackhawks, in a trade that also swapped forward Tyler Motte for goalie prospect Anton Forsberg.

Below is a partial transcription of Bowman's comments regarding the trades.

"Moving forward, we're very excited for these trades that we made -- in particular, bringing back a player that everybody's familiar with in Brandon Saad. It's pretty well-documented how well he fit into our group.

Connor Murphy is an individual that I've had the chance to see up close for the last couple of years, working with USA Hockey at the World Championship. He was the captain of that team this year. Connor is a very impressive young man; he's got a lot of character, leadership, very articulate, very engaging person. His hockey game is something we don't have a lot of. We really like his size, his physicality, his overall game, and we're looking forward to seeing him in a Blackhawk jersey.

In addition, we have a younger player from Arizona, Laurent Dauphin, a centerman who is just breaking through to the NHL. I think he's looking for that full-time role next year and we're hoping he's ready for that as well. He does a little bit of everything; he's a responsible player but has some skill, size and speed. Finally, we got a goaltender in Anton Forsberg, who has great potential. I think his time is now. He's had a couple years to work his way up, he's had tremendous success at the American Hockey League level, and now he has the chance at the NHL level.

We feel that we've pushed our franchise forward with these moves, and there's a lot of reason for excitement and optimism."

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Blackhawks acquire Saad, Forsberg from Columbus for Panarin, Motte

by Chicago Blackhawks Media Relations /

The Chicago Blackhawks today acquired forward Brandon Saad, goaltender Anton Forsberg and a fifth-round draft pick in 2018 from the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for forwards Artemi Panarin, Tyler Motte and Chicago's sixth round (170th overall) draft pick in 2017. Saad returns to the Blackhawks where he was a two-time Stanley Cup winner with Chicago, winning in 2013 and 2015.

"We thank Artemi for the immediate impact he made on our lineup during his seamless transition to the NHL," said Chicago Blackhawks Senior Vice President and General Manager Stan Bowman. "His rookie year will always rank among the best in franchise history and his exciting style of play provided many memorable moments for our fans during his two seasons as a member of the team. Tyler has a bright future in this league and we appreciate his contributions and hard work he put in. We wish them both success in Columbus."

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