Friday, June 22, 2012
Blackhawks draft Teuvo Teravainen
By Jesse Rogers
PITTSBURGH -- The Chicago Blackhawks think they got a steal when they drafted Finnish forward Teuvo Teravainen with the 18th pick in the NHL entry draft on Friday night. Teravainen was considered by many experts to be a Top-5 pick.
"We're really excited that he was still available when we picked," general manager Stan Bowman said. "We had him much higher on our list. To get him at the 18th spot was really impressive. We're thrilled with it.
"He's a dynamic offensive player. He has great hands. He's got the ability to make plays. He's a gifted offensive player. The talent that you can get at that level picking at the 18th spot was pretty impressive."
Teravainen, 17, says he likes watching Patrick Kane play but thinks it will be a while before he can call him his teammate. Teravainen plans on playing in Finland again next season.
"I like to play with the puck," he said. "I'm a good skater and good hockey sense. I have to get stronger and work on my body."
Listed at 5 feet 11, 165 pounds, the comparisons to Kane's style and size are appropriate, says his Chicago based agent, Bill Zito. But Zito was quick to point out Kane is an all-world player while Teravainen is just getting started. Like Bowman, Zito was surprised Teravainen lasted so long, in fact he was shocked he was there at No. 18.
"At least two NHL teams told me he was in the top 5 on their list and one team told me he was No.1 on their list," Zito said.
Bowman thought a run on defensemen early in the draft left plenty of good forwards available later -- including Teravainen.
Neither Zito nor Bowman could project if he would play center or wing in the NHL but both agreed he made huge strides over the past year.
"To draw some parallels, take a kid from the Chicago Steel and put him on the Wolves," Zito said. "That happened to him and he was very effective in the under-18 tournaments as well."
Teravainen scored 11 goals and had seven assists in 40 games when moved up to the elite league. Before that, he had 12 goals and eight assists in 11 games in the junior "A" league.
"I just know my work is just beginning," he said. "It's a lot of work ahead."