Sep 17, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks left wing Teuvo Teravainen (23) moves the puck past Detroit Red Wings left wing Drew Miller (20) during the third period at the United Center. The Blackhawks beat the Red Wings 2-0. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports
Earlier this week it was confirmed by General Manager Stan Bowman and Coach Joel Quenneville that Teuvo Teravainen will be coming to the Blackhawks after his season ends in Finland. The fear on March 1st was that Finland would want Teravainen to play in the World Championships for them. Finland has given Teravainen their blessing to play for the Blackhawks. This could be the reason why the Blackhawks were quiet at the deadline.
Teravainen was drafted by the Blackhawks in the 2012 NHL draft. He was considered a steal by many scouts and pundits when the Blackhawks selected him at 18. When Teravainen dazzled the Blackhawks faithful during training camp, the question was raised: Is Teuvo Teravainen the Savior at second line center?
The second line center position has been plaguing the Blackhawks for several years now. The Blackhawks have tried Patrick Sharp, Patrick Kane, Brandon Saad, Andrew Shaw, Dave Bolland, Marcus Kruger, Michal Handzus, Brandon Pirri, and Peter Regin. Each of these players have had limited success at the position but not enough to justify the Blackhawks staying with them long term. Pirri was the last hope for the Blackhawks to solve the second center line position. However Pirri’s inability to play defense is why he plays in Florida now.
I would have been skeptical of Teravainen playing the second line center position BEFORE this season. This season changed Teravainen for the better. He began his hockey season with Blackhawks in training camp. Coach Quenneville had this to say about Teravainen, “He’s one of those players who’s special as far as his play recognition, how he protects the puck and sees plays”. Quenneville was not just impressed with his offensive game but his defensive game as well. Quenneville said, “He’s responsible defensively at a young age, which is pretty remarkable especially over here in a different type of game.” Quote Courtesy of Tracy Meyers at CSNCHICAGO.com.
After spending training camp with Blackhawks, he went back to Jokeirt in the SM Liiga. He was chosen to play for Finland in the World Junior Championship. During the World Junior Championships, he scored 2 goals and had 13 assists in 7 games. Finland won the gold medal and was named to the media all star team. Upon returning to Jokeirt, he continued to dominate. Since December of 2013, Teravainen has been dominating every hockey league he has been in.
Everyone knows he is a dominating offensive talent and has the talent to play second line center for the Blackhawks. The thing that has sold me on Teravainen was his maturity. He took the reassignment from the Blackhawks back to Jokeirt in stride. Teravainen said in January “ I think I’m going to have great season now in Finland. That’s my biggest thing right now. After that we’ll see. My goal next year of course is Chicago. We’ll see if I’m coming over this season or next season. We’ll see what happens after [the Liiga] season”. Quote Courtesy of ESPNChicago.com
After attaining international success, he did not rest on his accomplishments instead he continued to get better. He is only 19 years old and very mature for his age. He was named Captain of his country’s World Junior team. After returning for the WJC, he was named Captain of Jokeirt when their previous Captain got injured. The Blackhawks seem to have a knack for drafting mature 19 year old players.
Despite making the playoffs in SM Liiga, Teravainen could be done as soon as this Sunday. When he does arrive to the NHL expect the Blackhawks to ease him into the second line center role. So Is the Teuvo Teravainen the Savior? Well he is not coming in as the savior, but he will be the answer at second line center.
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