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Annual expectations thread 2022/23: #10 Henri Jokiharju


dudacek
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What do you expect from Henri Jokiharju?  

50 members have voted

  1. 1. Which of these best describes what you think the Sabres will get from Jokiharju this year?

    • Not a lot, he will fall out of favour and become a bit of an afterthought
    • He’s going to settle quite nicely into the 4/5 slot and provide solid play against lesser competition
    • He’s going to get a lot of prime ice time and look a bit overmatched
    • He’ll settle nicely into a top 4 support role and look good doing it.


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Coming off a pair of low-key but promising seasons, Henri Jokiharju got hurt right at the beginning of the season and didn’t find his game immediately upon his return.

Don Granato’s response was to force-feed him all the hard minutes, important situations and tough opponents he could handle. Despite playing only 60 games, he set a career high in points. Despite the harder matchups, he managed to slightly improve his 5-on-5 possession percentage (to a mediocre 48.5). He increased his time on special teams, and added a full 3 minutes of ice time to his average per game, to finish 2nd overall on the team behind Rasmus Dahlin.

https://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=196298

Jokiharju - who was still just 22 at season’s end - played much of the year with Dahlin, and finished it with prize rookie Owen Power. Not everyone agreed that he is worthy of the #2 spot on the blueline pecking order, but he certainly got his share of vocal support from Granato. It will be interesting to see how the additions of Lyubushkin and Power, along with the emergence of Samuelsson will effect his role.

What do you expect from him this year?

(Last year’s takes here):

 

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He SHOULD be in the 5/4 role, but he's going to be in the 4.  Power will keep him seeming to be only slightly overmatched.  (Much like Dahlin's growth last year made Henri seem to take more strides than he actually did.  And he DID make strides last year.)

Really hoping Lyubushkin settles in too well next to Power, like Samuelsson did with Dahlin, to let Granato give in to his inner "just let him learn into the role" next to Power.  But not expecting it.  Henri could look like a hero as the 5.

Edited by Taro T
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8 hours ago, Taro T said:

He SHOULD be in the 5/4 role, but he's going to be in the 4.  Power will keep him seeming to be only slightly overmatched.  (Much like Dahlin's growth last year made Henri seem to take more strides than he actually did.  And he DID make strides last year.)

Really hoping Lyubushkin settles in too well next to Power, like Samuelsson did with Dahlin, to let Granato give in to his inner "just let him learn into the role" next to Power.  But not expecting it.  Henri could look like a hero as the 5.

I have a different take on Joki. Whether he is on the first pairing or second pairing his role is as a complementing player to the primary player in the pairing. He's the subordinate player to the dominate player whether it is Dahlin or Power. That's what you want when pairing a player with a highly talented player who will dominate the puck. 

As you point out it seems that Granato believes that Joki has more untapped upside. Granato has been adept at putting lines and pairings together. Granato has shown that he is open-minded and flexible when assembling lines and pairings. I'm sure that he will not pre-determine a role for either Lyubushkin or Joki. Their play in training camp and even during the season will have them vying to be paired with Power. I lean toward Joki being paired with Power.  

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I think he is a classic bottom half of the defence player.  He’s good enough in that role for this team.  He’s probably good enough for that role on a playoff team. He’s flawed, but not so flawed as to be a detriment.  He’s got room and time to develop even further.  He’s probably among the least of our concerns on this team.

I didn’t like any of the poll options for my response.

Edited by Weave
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26 minutes ago, JohnC said:

I have a different take on Joki. Whether he is on the first pairing or second pairing his role is as a complementing player to the primary player in the pairing. He's the subordinate player to the dominate player whether it is Dahlin or Power. That's what you want when pairing a player with a highly talented player who will dominate the puck. 

As you point out it seems that Granato believes that Joki has more untapped upside. Granato has been adept at putting lines and pairings together. Granato has shown that he is open-minded and flexible when assembling lines and pairings. I'm sure that he will not pre-determine a role for either Lyubushkin or Joki. Their play in training camp and even during the season will have them vying to be paired with Power. I lean toward Joki being paired with Power.  

He should NOT be on the 1st pairing.  When all are healthy, he should never be partnered with Dahlin unless they're playing euchre.  😉

IMHO at this point in time he is not a good partner for Power because he makes too many mistakes in his own end & more importantly he doesn't cover for his partner's mistakes there nearly well enough.  Maybe he'll reduce one or both like he stopped pinching at the wrong time at the other end last year, in which case that opinion could very well change.  But until he does, really would rather have Lyubushkin paired with Power because the expectation is he WILL cover Power's mistakes far better than Henri will.  Expecting Granato would rather have him work through those deficiencies tied to Power's hip so expecting those of you that want Henri as the 4 will get your wish.

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I chose option 4 -- solid top 4 guy. 

As I've said previously, I'm a fan of Joki's and am pretty confident that he'll quite capably pull his weight as a 20+-min-per-game complement to the rising star Power.

Joki just turned 23 in June and IMHO has improved each season despite spending his 2nd and 3rd pro seasons playing for the highly dysfunctional Krueger-coached Sabres.  He spend 1 year in juniors after being drafted at the end of the 1st round, then split his rookie year between Chicago and their AHL team, then was traded to the Sabres for Nylander.  Then 2 years of Krueger/pandemic, then last year under DM, who, as @dudacek notes, has consistently praised his play in public statements.

My point is that the first part of his pro career has been spent under pretty trying circumstances and he's still performed pretty well.  Now he'll get a chance to play in (hopefully!) a much more stable set of circumstances, with (hopefully!) a potential star D partner and a real NHL roster around him led by (hopefully!) a real NHL coach and backstopped by (hopefully!) a real NHL goalie.

He won't be anyone's favorite out of the top 4, because Dahlin and Power have star quality while Mule brings the blood and guts, but I think Joki will deliver what the Sabres need in that slot.

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I voted solid top 4, but maybe only for this season with others continuing to develop too.

In the future, maybe as soon as next season, I hope he is the #5 guy and will look very good in that role.  I am not sure who will pass him though and end up in the top 4.

It kind of depends where the Sabres see the new guy with the long and complicated name fitting in.  Is he the #4 with Power at #3, or is he the #5 and Joker is the #4 with Power??

+++++

Also, why does it seem that @dudacek never seems to vote in these polls ??

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I think camp and pre-season games will determine Power’s partner. Joker would have to focus on defense first if paired with Power but he could freewheel on the third pairing. He has a better all around game than Boosh but may not mesh well with Power. Boosh may not be the guy to get 20+ minutes so Joker may slide in with Power. This is a tough decision.
 

When this team is ready to contend, Joker should be a solid third pairing guy.

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Less powerplay time this season on account of Power, but still good minutes and a steadying game that looks better and better as the team improves. At or above career highs despite the limited PP time simply because the team is better. 4-20-24.

I still look at a Joker like a Lydman. (And remember, we didn't see Lydman/Tallinder until they were both in their late 20s. Jokiharju is still only going to be 23 during this season.) His best play is still a few years away and will be on his 3rd contract by then, with us or elsewhere, as need dictates.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, nfreeman said:

I chose option 4 -- solid top 4 guy. 

As I've said previously, I'm a fan of Joki's and am pretty confident that he'll quite capably pull his weight as a 20+-min-per-game complement to the rising star Power.

Joki just turned 23 in June and IMHO has improved each season despite spending his 2nd and 3rd pro seasons playing for the highly dysfunctional Krueger-coached Sabres.  He spend 1 year in juniors after being drafted at the end of the 1st round, then split his rookie year between Chicago and their AHL team, then was traded to the Sabres for Nylander.  Then 2 years of Krueger/pandemic, then last year under DM, who, as @dudacek notes, has consistently praised his play in public statements.

My point is that the first part of his pro career has been spent under pretty trying circumstances and he's still performed pretty well.  Now he'll get a chance to play in (hopefully!) a much more stable set of circumstances, with (hopefully!) a potential star D partner and a real NHL roster around him led by (hopefully!) a real NHL coach and backstopped by (hopefully!) a real NHL goalie.

He won't be anyone's favorite out of the top 4, because Dahlin and Power have star quality while Mule brings the blood and guts, but I think Joki will deliver what the Sabres need in that slot.

Leaning toward this myself.

I see a confident kid with decent skill; a good head on his shoulders and a track record of winning, who is still young, has steadily improved, and wants to be a difference-maker.

He's no stud, but he's going to be a good mid-roster piece for a good team.

Edited by dudacek
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1 hour ago, French Collection said:

I think camp and pre-season games will determine Power’s partner. Joker would have to focus on defense first if paired with Power but he could freewheel on the third pairing. He has a better all around game than Boosh but may not mesh well with Power. Boosh may not be the guy to get 20+ minutes so Joker may slide in with Power. This is a tough decision.
 

When this team is ready to contend, Joker should be a solid third pairing guy.

Is Boosh the new guy?

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Just like many Sabres,  he's young and can get better.  Projecting what he'll be next year is fine but I think it's important not to project beyond that in terms of limiting what any of them could turn into. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I don't think we've seen what Joki can become yet.

I expect him to keep improving and developing his offensive game.

His 10 goals and 15 assists will be a part of the top 5 scoring defense in the league.

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I always forget how young he is.   He's only 1 year older than Samuelsson.

That said, he needs to get better in his own end... which you can say for just about all young defensemen.    

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I think he suffers in perception a bit for one of the same reasons Olofsson does: he’s old hat to the fanbase. You see it all the time with ppl forgetting how young they are still - but because they aren’t among any of the newest tiers of shiny new toys, they get dropped down a bit, their runway for potential growth sometimes minimized or forgotten. 

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