When the Chicago Blackhawks added highly-touted prospect, Teuvo Teravainen, to the NHL roster, late in the 2013-2014 season, it was a bit of a tease.
With hype running rampant, as the Finnish forward dominated in his home country, Hawks fans were counting down the days until it was “Teuvo Time”.
The time came and went faster than a Shea Weber slapshot. Teravainen played only 3 games, for the Hawks, after he was expected to finally be the answer for the age-old 2nd-line center dilemma. He may be, but not quite yet.
Teravainen’s 3-game “cup of coffee”, in the NHL will likely do wonders for his development, as it was his first taste of the NHL as well as North-American hockey, and he was hardly over-matched despite not registering any points. Hawks’ head coach, Joel Quenneville wanted Teuvo to shoot more, and was eventually sent down to the AHL, where he scored 2 goals in 5 games. It’s a small sample size, but there is plenty to like, so why isn’t he all but assured to be on the NHL roster, going into the 2014-2015 season?
It’s because he doesn’t need to be.
With the addition of Brad Richards, Teravainen is able to put his development/adjustment to North American hockey on the front-burner. Being thrown too far into the NHL fire and pinning any portion of the Hawks’ Stanley Cup hopes onto Teuvo wouldn’t be ideal for his development. Richards, who signed a 1-year deal with the Hawks, this offseason, will be the team’s short-term answer at the 2nd-line center spot. He will be crucial to the Hawks Cup hopes, this season, as well as Teravainen’s development. Richards might be the most glorified seat warmer, in the history of the NHL, and that isn’t meant as an insult. He will more than likely be the best 2nd-line center the Hawks have had in several years, but at age 34, he is in the twilight of his career, which works out perfectly will Teuvo’s development time-table.
Teuvo may be up at some point this season, but for just how long and how prominent of a role he plays will likely not be as significant as he will be expected to play in the future. Crazier things have happened, and this could all be disgustingly incorrect, but it’s more than likely close to what will end up happening with Teravainen, in the near future.
We shall see, though.