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Thread: Jokiharju has become a dependable presence with help from Ristolainen

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    Jokiharju has become a dependable presence with help from Ristolainen

    Jokiharju has become a dependable presence with help from Ristolainen

    "It's nice to help him on whatever he needs to get comfortable here. He's a good kid, young, real young. He could be my son," the 25-year-old Ristolainen said, exaggerating his own age. "Good player, really confident, makes plays. He's surprised me a lot."

    Jokiharju said upon being traded to Buffalo in the summer that it was his goal to play a full season in the NHL - high expectations for a young player in a crowded defense corps. He's dressed in every game for the Sabres so far, appearing at times on both the power play and the penalty kill.

    With Jokiharju on the ice at 5-on-5, the Sabres have outscored opponents 24-17 according to NaturalStatTrick.com.

    "He's just somebody, with the puck, who's managing it as well as anybody I've seen and that's one of the reasons his defensive game is responsible and passionate," Sabres coach Ralph Krueger said. "I've said it before, I'll say it again, everybody in the Sabres family needs to be really excited about Henri's future."
    Welcome to Buffalo Henri Jokiharju

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    Re: Jokiharju has become a dependable presence with help from Ristolainen

    Blackhawks article from mid-November:

    Column: Assessing whether the Blackhawks or Sabres won the Alex Nylander-Henri Jokiharju trade — and why it was made

    That asset turned out to be Nylander, who came to the Hawks after three years of dealing with injuries and an inability to stick with the Sabres. Nylander arrived with a reputation for being an underachiever but had only 19 NHL games under his belt. What the No. 8 pick in the 2016 draft needed was an opportunity to play in the NHL, which he’s getting with the Hawks.

    Even with no goals in his last 14 games entering Saturday’s matchup with the Predators, Nylander isn’t getting the side-eye from coach Jeremy Colliton wondering why he isn’t putting the puck in the net.

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    “There’s constant conversation for sure,” Colliton said. “But the focus isn’t really on, ‘Oh, you haven’t scored,’ it’s how you’re playing. And he’s had some good games. He can’t focus on whether I’ve scored or haven’t scored. Honestly it’s nothing I’m keeping tabs on, it’s more about how was the performance.”

    And how has Nylander performed?

    “He continues to perform well,” Colliton said. “There’s probably been a couple shifts every game where he’s dropped off a little bit. Sometimes that’s what you remember when you watch the game. But when you look at all shifts, he’s had some really good ones.”

    Nylander has played more minutes with Toews than anyone else this season and constantly gets feedback from the Hawks captain.

    “If you ask (Alex), he’ll admit he has a ton of ability, a ton of upside that you’d expect a lot more production when he’s given opportunities, and he’s starting to get those opportunities,” Toews said. “It’s only a matter of time before he starts putting up numbers. Guy can skate, handle the puck. Look at the way his brother (Maple Leafs forward William Nylander) plays. They’re almost identical. He’s got a heck of a shot, too, so he’s probably even a better shooter than his brother.”

    The Hawks obviously would love for Nylander to break out on the scoresheet, but as long as he’s backchecking, playing hard and not taking shifts off, they’re going to give him time to develop his confidence.

    If they can turn him into the 25-goal scorer he was projected to be — something they don’t have in their farm system — that’s worth more to them than Jokiharju, especially if Boqvist and Mitchell pan out.

    And if Jokiharju keeps getting better? Great for him, and great for the Sabres.

    Nobody has to lose the trade. At least not yet, anyway.

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    Re: Jokiharju has become a dependable presence with help from Ristolainen

    I was just thinking about yesterday how solid there two have become. Risto is playing better. It's good to see. He has the toolset to be a first pairing guy. He just hasnt put it together. Whether he will or not is another story

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