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Chicago Blackhawks: 5 Takeaways from the Rookie Tournament

By Andrew Gregory
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Mar 25, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks left wing Teuvo Teravainen (86) reaches for the puck against Dallas Stars center Dustin Jeffrey (11) during the first period at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

This weekend’s Rookie Tournament was a dismal one for the Chicago Blackhawks young players. They lost twice in a shootout and ended up going 0-1-2. Although the bad result, there were still some high points including Teuvo Teravainen’s pass to set up Mark McNeil, a few good showings from players on Professional Try-Out’s (PTO’s), Phillip Danault’s leadership, and Trevor Van Riemsdyk’s solid play. Some low points were bad goal-tending and Stephen Johns and Viktor Svedberg getting caught out of position on defense.

Here are 5 takeaways, good and bad, from this weekend’s tournament:

Teuvo Teravainen can pass!

Wait… we already knew that! Teuvo had 13 assists in the 2014 World Junior Championship. This weekend though, he took it to another level entirely. Although nothing came of it at times, Teuvo still showed great passing skill and had 3 assists in the final game against Ottawa, including this beauty:

After watching this video multiple times, there are many things you can take away from it. It was an incredible pass, of course, but what about the vision to see McNeil rushing the net? From his angle, he would have had to almost crane his neck back to see it, but instead his head doesn’t move, so as not to tip off the defender, and he still delivers the puck right onto McNeil’s stick. Not only that, but he was also able to divert the goaltender before he passed it. He managed to get far enough behind the net for the goalie to assume that the danger was on his stick side rather than his glove side which was where the shot was placed.

But we already knew that Teuvo could pass, right? So what is the big deal? Teuvo showed us all what seemed like a whole new level for him in this tournament, and even just on that one play. Another thing that struck me about Teuvo in this tournament was how he was able to get his stick in the passing lanes on defense. If Teuvo develops a good two-way games, he will be scary for the Blackhawks opposition.  It is truly incredible what this kid is capable of.

Trevor van Riemsdyk’s ankle looks good.

vanRiemsdyk was set up to be a highly touted college free agent at the end of his junior season with the University of New Hampshire, until he injured his ankle in January. Some teams still wanted him, but he chose to sign with the Hawks even though it might not have been his quickest route to the NHL.

This weekends tournament, and the Blackhawks Development Camp were both good tests of how his ankle will hold up, and from what was shown this weekend, it looks pretty good. He skated nicely, played good defense, and was even able to set up a few goals on the offensive end of the ice. Expect him to be a hit this season in Rockford, and maybe someday up with the big club.

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