Teravainen expected to join Blackhawks

March, 11, 2014
Mar 11
3:39
PM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks prospect Teuvo Teravainen is expected to join the team when his season in Finland is complete, Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said on Tuesday.

"I'm expecting him to come here when his season's done," Quenneville said. "We'll see after that."

The 19-year-old Teravainen, drafted by the Blackhawks in the first round in 2012, is playing for Jokerit in the Liiga in his native Finland. He signed an entry-level deal with the Blackhawks in August.

Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said on March 1 that Teravainen's arrival to the team depended on his season in Finland being done and him not playing for Finland in the World Championship in Belarus in May.

According to a source, Finland is expected to give Teravainen its blessing to play for the Blackhawks and provide him an opportunity to be a part of the Stanley Cup playoffs instead of asking him to play for his country in the World Championship.

Quenneville also believes Teravainen would play for the Blackhawks instead of Finland.

"I don't know how that works, but I would think he would come here," Quenneville said.

A late Jokerit playoff run could also alter Teravainen's plans. Jokerit is the seventh seed in the Liiga and has one regular-season game remaining. If Jokerit remains the seventh seed, it will begin a three-game playoff series on Saturday. Jokerit's season could be finished as early as March 16 or could run as late as April 26.

Teravainen helped Finland to the gold medal in the World Junior Championship in January by recording 15 points in seven games. Since returning to Jokerit after the tournament, he's registered points in 17 of 19 games and has 26 points during that span. He has nine goals and 35 assists in 48 games this season.

Teravainen appeared in two preseason games with the Blackhawks before joining Jokerit this season. Bowman said recently Teravainen's play had improved since he left Chicago.

"I think when he left here in October, he was a little bit of a slow start," Bowman said. "He had missed some games while he was in training camp with us. It took him a little bit to get going. I think he started playing well in December, and, ever since the world junior tournament, he's been dominating. He's been scoring every game. He's the leading scorer of the team even though he hasn't played as many games as other guys."

Bowman said then if Teravainen did join the Blackhawks, he wouldn't be asked to play a major role.

"So I think the nice thing for us with Teuvo is we don't need to rely on him, even if he does come over," Bowman said. "He's not going to be the focal point of our team. I think at that age you have to be careful you don't put your expectations too high. He's just going to be another player if he comes in. But he certainly has the talent to be able to play with high-end players here. We're not counting on anything, but if it works out, it would be a great addition."

Teravainen told ESPNChicago.com in January he was unsure whether he would join the Blackhawks this season.

"I think I'm going to have a great season now in Finland," Teravainen said. "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."
Scott Powers is a general reporter for ESPNChicago.com. He is an award-winning journalist and has been reporting on preps, colleges and pros for publications throughout the Midwest since 1997.

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