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Chicago Blackhawks’ Teuvo Teravainen Not Expendable

By Mario Tirabassi
Nov 4, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks left wing Teuvo Teravainen (86) is congratulated for scoring a goal during the first period against the St. Louis Blues at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 4, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks left wing Teuvo Teravainen (86) is congratulated for scoring a goal during the first period against the St. Louis Blues at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Chicago Blackhawks Should Not Be Trading Teuvo Teravainen Away

While the Chicago Blackhawks haven’t played a game since the end of April (inserts weeping child noise), the offseason has had plenty to keep fans busy with as the Stanley Cup Playoffs move forward. One narrative that has been quite constant is the need for the Blackhawks to stay under the NHL’s salary cap and what roster moves need to be made to achieve that.

One such move that continues to cycle around the rumor mill is that Teuvo Teravainen as a trade piece for the Blackhawks this summer. In a report earlier this week by ESPN’s Craig Custance, the Blackhawks have been reportedly pushing a Bryan Bickell and Teravainen package deal in a desperate effort to dump the remainder of Bickell’s four-year, $16 million deal he signed after the 2013 season.

While Bickell’s contract has to be dealt this offseason if the Blackhawks want to make any moves  (i.e. re-signing Andrew Shaw), it is possible to make that happen without Teravainen becoming a casualty. While unpopular, the Blackhawks could buy out Bickell’s contract if there are no takers in a trade involving Bickell. But for Teravainen to be moved along with Bickell would be a mistake by Chicago’s management, who make few dumb mistakes when it comes to player personnel.

Check it out: Chicago’s Stanley Cup Window Is Still Open

Contract Extension A Must For Blackhawks, Teravainen

While the Blackhawks work to trade Bickell, when his contract situation gets resolved, the team has a few other moves they want to make happen, and the two biggest ones they need to make happen. One of the latter is signing Artemi Panarin to a contract extension, the other is signing Teravainen to a contract extension.

Once the NHL salary cap is figured out, whether it will go up, stay stagnant or go down, the Blackhawks will want to make sure the future of the franchise is in good hands. Panarin, currently going into Year 2 of his two-year deal, is worthy of a contract extension after the rookie season he was able to put together. At 24 years old, Panarin is, right now, in the prime of his playing career and the Blackhawks want to have him in Chicago as long as possible.

It seems a given that Panarin’s deal will get done, but for Teravainen, it’s still a tossup. But it shouldn’t be. Teravainen still has to realize his potential as a top-six forward in the NHL, and has yet to get his real opportunity to do so. At 21 years old, Teravainen is a young, highly skilled player who has improved his two-way game since his North American debut and still possesses high-end scoring touch and vision on the ice to make plays on an elite level.

One stat that may be overlooked from the 2015-16 season is that Teravainen only tallied 35 points (13 goals, 22 assists) but was one of the most-productive forwards on the roster.

From Blackhawks Breakdown on Twitter:

Basically, what all these graphs show is that Teravainen outperformed Andrew Ladd and Shaw while playing with the first-line pairing of Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa. So the notion that Teravainen should be traded to make way for a Shaw re-signing doesn’t make sense when Teravainen can play in the role he is supposed to play in.

Next: Blackhawks Mock Draft: Dylan Coghlan

What do you think? Is Teuvo Teravainen a trade piece for the Blackhawks, or should he be looked at as a key part to the franchise’s future?

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