Saturday, March 1, 2014
Teravainen still possiblity to join Hawks
By Scott Powers
CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman continued to leave the door open Saturday for forward prospect Teuvo Teravainen to join the team this season.
The 19-year-old Teravainen, drafted by the Blackhawks in the first round in 2012, is currently playing for Jokerit in the Liiga in his native Finland. He signed an entry-level deal with the Blackhawks in August 2013.
Teravainen helped Finland to the gold medal in the World Junior Championships in January and had 15 points in seven games. Since returning to Jokerit after the tournament, he’s registered points in 14 of his past 15 games and has 24 points during that span. He leads Jokerit with 41 points, which include eight goals and 33 assists, in 45 games this season.
Teuvo Teravainen, 19, led Finland to the world junior title in January, and could yet see time with the Blackhawks this season.
"There is still some logistical things with him because the team's [Jokerit] still playing," Bowman said prior to the Blackhawks-Pittsburgh Penguins game at Soldier Field. "When their season finishes, he's in the mix to play on the [Finland] national team for the world championships. But I guess, hypothetically, if he's free and clear to come over, we'd certainly bring him over.
"He's having a great season over there as a 19-year-old kid. First of all, he has a great world junior tournament, when the Finn team came all the way and won the gold medal. But he's really taken off since that point."
Teravainen took part in the Blackhawks’ training camp and played in two preseason games before leaving for Jokerit. Bowman thought he’s improved since then.
"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.
"I was speaking to Barry Smith, our player-development guy, and Barry's over in Finland right now. He was with him the other night, and he said that they named him captain. Their captain went down with an injury, so Teuvo took over as captain, which is remarkable for a 19-year-old kid over there in the biggest league, and he's really dominating."
Bowman said if Teravainen does join the Blackhawks, he won'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 happen after [the Liiga] season."