Ever since he stepped foot on North American soil, Chicago Blackhawks fans have been abuzz about their top prospect, Teuvo Teravainen. The hype didn’t translate into results in his first few months with the organization, as he played only three NHL games before joining the Rockford IceHogs of the AHL. Throughout the early parts of the off-season, it looked like Teravainen would be the clubs’ full-time second-line center, with the departure of Michal Handzus. Stan Bowman’s signing of Brad Richards on the first day of free agency, however, altered those plans significantly, and it seems that Teuvo Time won’t be in 2014-15. With less than a month until Blackhawks’ training camp begins, and we know for sure who will start the season in Chicago, we count down the top five reasons why Teuvo should spend the year in the Windy City:
#5: Use His Contract To Full Extent
Part of the reason that Teravainen didn’t spend more time with the Blackhawks this past season is because the Blackhawks had the option to carry over a year from his contract if he played 8 games or less, (which is known as an entry-level slide). Teravainen comes into the 2014-15 season with three years left on his entry-level contract, which will carry a $894,167 salary cap hit for the Blackhawks in each season. This time around, there will be no contract years to save, and if Teravainen spends the season in Rockford, he will only have two seasons with the Blackhawks before potentially signing elsewhere as a restricted free agent in the summer of 2017, or signing what would likely be a much bigger contract than the one he has today. The Blackhawks took advantage of entry-level deals with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, and made deep playoff runs before both players had to sign their second NHL deals. At this age, the Blackhawks can benefit immensely from Teravainen, and in the boardroom as well as on the ice.
#4: Learn From The Veterans While They’re Still Here
Teravainen can learn from each and every Blackhawks player if he so happens to play with them this season; every player on the Blackhawks, with the exception of back-up goaltender Antti Raanta, have a Stanley Cup Championship to their credit. Three of them have Conn Smythe Trophies under their belts, including the man Teravainen is set to battle against for a spot at training camp. Players like Duncan Keith, Jonathan Toews, and Patrick Kane are here to stay, but the likes of Patrick Sharp and Nick Leddy have came up in trade conversation in the past few months. With the Blackhawks still in a cap crunch, someone has to be moved before the Blackhawks take the ice in 46 days. Teravainen needs as many shifts, games, and seasons with the grizzled Blackhawks’ veterans he can get, before they are gone and Teuvo will be the one the Blackhawks rely on in their place. Sharp, Marian Hossa, and Keith are all over the 30 mark, and although they still likely have several years left with the Indian Head on their chest, the more time they have to pass on their knowledge of the game to the impending star forward, the better.