- Scott Powers, Reporter
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Chicago Blackhawks forward prospect Teuvo Teravainen is scheduled to arrive in Chicago from Finland by end of the week, but it’s still undetermined whether he’ll join the team prior to the playoffs, a source said Wednesday.
The 19-year-old Teravainen, who is considered the organization’s top prospect, became a possibility for the Blackhawks this season after his team, Jokerit, was eliminated from the playoffs in the Liiga in Finland on Sunday.
Teravainen, who is 5-foot-11, 169 pounds, finished tied for sixth in the Liiga with 44 regular-season points. He had nine goals and 35 assists in 49 games. He recorded points in 17 of his last 20 regular-season games. He also helped Finland to the gold medal in the World Junior Championship in January by recording 15 points in seven games.
Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman and coach Joel Quenneville recently said Teravainen could join the Blackhawks this season. The Blackhawks currently do not have enough cap space to call up Teravainen.
By bringing him to Chicago this week, Teravainen will be able to adjust to the time difference and be ready if the Blackhawks can find a way to add him to their team prior to the playoffs. Teams are not restricted by the salary cap during the playoffs.
Teravainen participated in the Blackhawks’ training camp and played two preseason games for them this season before returning to Finland.
Bowman hasn’t been shy about building up hype for Teravainen since selecting him as the No. 18 overall pick in the 2012.
“We're really looking forward to having him in a Blackhawks uniform at some point because he's a special player," Bowman said at the Blackhawks prospect camp in July. "I think he's going to electrify fans for a long time."
Bowman recently said Teravainen wouldn’t have to deal with high expectations if he played this season.
"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 on March 1. “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 could fit in with the Blackhawks as their second-line center. The Blackhawks have tried a number of players in that position alongside right winger Patrick Kane throughout the season.
Quenneville said Sunday he thought it was possible for Teravainen to step in and contribute to the Blackhawks in the postseason.
“I think it’s happened before,” said Quenneville, though he couldn’t immediately recall such a situation. “But whether you have some kids coming out of junior and can help your organization ... you know, young guys that this time of year can give you a little bit of jump, as well.”