Tuesday, August 6, 2013
Blackhawks eager for Teravainen's arrival
By Scott Powers
Teuvo Teravainen's play with Finland's Under-20 team at the U.S. national junior evaluation camp in Lake Placid, N.Y., only adds to the anticipation for the Blackhawks prospect.
Organizations don't normally like speaking in certainties when it comes to prospects.
Some prospects succeed and some fail. The Chicago Blackhawks have had first-round picks such as Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane develop into elite players, but they have also endured other first-round picks such as Jack Skille and Cam Barker not work out. That's why general managers don't often predict stardom for a player until they have at least arrived to the pros.
But that hasn't been the case with Blackhawks center prospect Teuvo Teravainen.
Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman has been quite open with how high his expectations are for Teravainen, whom the Blackhawks drafted at No. 18 overall in 2012. Bowman hasn't used "if" in regards to Teravainen becoming a star, but more "when" he does.
"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."
Recently at the Blackhawks convention, Bowman again let fans know how highly he thought of Teravainen.
"Teuvo, I think is going to be a superb talent when he gets here," Bowman said on a convention panel.
Fans will have to wait at least one more season to be electrified by his talent. The plan is for Teravainen, who turns 19 on Sept. 11, to return to Jokerit of the SM-liiga for the 2013-14 season. He is scheduled to participate in the Blackhawks training camp in September.
Teravainen is coming off his second season with Jokerit. After producing 18 points in 40 games during the 2011-12 season, he had 13 goals and 18 assists in 44 games last season.
Bowman said he is happy with Teravainen's improvement.
"He had a very good season last year," Bowman said in July. "I think he's going to play a real big role on their team next year. I think he may be the top center on the team over in Jokerit this upcoming season. We're really pleased with his progress. I think he's gained some strength. He needed to get stronger and he still does. He's worked at it."
Teravainen is spending this week playing with Finland's Under-20 team at the U.S. national junior evaluation camp in Lake Placid, N.Y. Through two games, he leads all players with two goals and three assists. He'll also play in games on Wednesday and Thursday.
Hockey Prospectus and ESPN Insider Corey Pronman has been impressed with Teravainen throughout the camp.
"He's pretty much been one if not the only Finnish U20 forward who has consistently created scoring chances," Pronman wrote in an email on Tuesday. "He's the guy who controls everything on the power play, the plays are geared up to run through him. His speed, hands, vision and shot have all stood out.
"Finland has used him on the PK and Teuvo told us playing in defensive situations is really new for him. They're trying to instill a better two-way game into him. That and getting stronger are what he needs to work on before he comes over."