The Chicago Blackhawks didn’t add any major pieces to their roster at the NHL trade deadline, but help is still on the way.
Top prospect Teuvo Teravainen, a Finnish center who was selected by Chicago with the No. 18 pick in the 2012 NHL draft, is going to join the Blackhawks when his SM-liiga (Finland’s top professional league) season with Jokerit Helsinki concludes. He has 43 points (nine goals, 34 assists) in 47 games for Jokerit this season.
#Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville reiterates what Stan Bowman said recently: Teuvo Teravainen to come to Chicago after Finnish season ends.—
Chris Kuc (@ChrisKuc) March 11, 2014
Teravainen could be the Blackhawks’ short and long-term answer at center on the second line, a role that Brandon Pirri was expected to fill before he struggled and was traded to the Florida Panthers earlier this month. Michal Handzus has filled the second-line center spot for much of the season alongside Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp, but the 37-year-old veteran doesn’t have the speed or playmaking skill to get the most scoring production out of his wingers at this stage of his career.
Expect the Blackhawks to test Teravainen in that spot when he arrives in Chicago. The 19-year-old forward is an extremely gifted offensive player with a skill set that includes a powerful slap shot, game-breaking speed, a high hockey IQ and impressive playmaking ability. The biggest challenge for him at the NHL level will be to win puck battles against stronger opponents (he’s only 5-foot-10, 185 pounds).
With that said, Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville is already impressed with Teravainen’s defense.
“He’s one of those players who’s special as far as his play recognition, how he protects the puck and sees plays,” Quenneville said during the Blackhawks’ training camp in September, per CSN Chicago. “He’s responsible defensively at a young age, which is pretty remarkable, especially over here in a different type of game.”
Photo via Twitter/tkauffman_26