The Buffalo Sabres have announced that defenseman Henri Jokiharju won’t return to tonight’s game after leaving with a lower body injury. Jokiharju left the game against the Columbus Blue Jackets after logging just 2:43 of ice time a registering a single shot. The former first round pick will finish the season with 13 points in 60 games.
The 23-year-old is in his fourth season with Buffalo after coming over to the Sabres in a trade that sent Alexander Nylander to the Chicago Blackhawks. He established a career high in points last season with 19 points in 60 games. While he couldn’t produce the same offense that he did last season, he continued to kill a lot of penalties for the Sabres while providing a steady defensive presence.
Jokiharju has had issues staying healthy as he has never been able to play a full NHL season. Although he is unlikely to miss any time due to this injury, he did miss a month of hockey back in December with another lower body injury. That injury was from blocking a shot against the Pittsburgh Penguins, which isn’t that surprising for a penalty killing defenseman.
Jokiharju will be hoping for a full summer of rest and training as the Sabres look to take the next step in their rebuild. Buffalo didn’t qualify for the playoffs this season but were in the mix until the last week of the year. With much of their core coming back next season, and a potential franchise goalie now in the mix, Buffalo figures to be a team that can contend for a playoff spot in the ultra-competitive Eastern Conference.