September is upon us and the Chicago Blackhawks will begin their third title defense of the decade in just a couple weeks. The team kicks off training camp at Compton Family Ice Arena on the campus of Notre Dame Sept. 18, putting us a step closer to the end of a whirlwind offseason. Over the next couple of weeks, Blackhawk Up will project the stats of each player on the roster, using their career averages and numbers from a year ago to analyze whether that player’s stats will be over or under the projected total.
Our series continues with a look at one of Chicago’s young gems, Teuvo Teravainen. The 20-year-old forward (he’ll turn 21 on Sept. 11) played 34 games with the Blackhawks last season after appearing in only three games his rookie year. Teravainen flashed a lot of offensive potential in a limited sample size and even earned the trust of Joel Quenneville toward the end of Chicago’s Stanley Cup run.
Teravainen will surely be a regular in the Blackhawks’ lineup this season and could line up as the second- or third-line center when the season begins. His offensive potential is extremely enticing, but what can Blackhawks fans expect from Teravainen during his first full season as a professional?
2014-15 Actual Stats: four goals, five assists
Teravainen was brought in slowly by the organization and averaged only 12:47 of ice time during those 34 games with the Blackhawks. He took only 66 shots during the regular season and connected on only 6.1 percent of those attempts.
His production did pick up quite a bit in the postseason, as he scored four goals and added six assists in just 18 playoff games. Teravainen seemed to find the net with much more regularity and converted on 15.4 percent of his shots taken during the playoffs.
2015-16 Projected Over/Under: 18 goals, 27 assists
Teravainen is still a tricky player to project for a couple of reasons. First, he’s yet to play a full season in the NHL, even though he has a combined 55 games of experience between the last two seasons. It’s hard to expect Teravainen to come in and set the league on fire in his true debut season.
The other reason is the uncertainty surrounding Teravainen’s role and position within the Blackhawks. Quenneville could place Teravainen as a second-line winger or a third-line center. Marko Dano has a similar skill set and could be a better fit at center than Teravainen. If Teravainen plays center, he will likely be in more of a playmaking role, which will increase his assist numbers. If he plays wing, he will be taking more shots and going for goals more often.
The talent and opportunity is there for Teravainen. He could have some stretches where he struggles, but the Blackhawks have done a nice job of at least immersing him into the professional level the last two seasons. Teravainen has a taste of the NHL and should be a productive member of the Blackhawks in a year where they are without Patrick Sharp, Brandon Saad and potentially Patrick Kane.
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