Teuvo Teravainen said he didn’t think the Blackhawks were going to trade him. Why should he think any different? He had a 10-point campaign during the Blackhawks’ 2014-15 Stanley Cup run with four goals and six assists and was the 18th overall selection in 2012. He also had 35 points in 2015-16 with 13 goals and 22 assists in 78 games.
The 22-year-old has already shown flashes of being an elite playmaker with fantastic vision and creativity. However, the young Finn still has room to grow.
Areas of Improvement
Concerns surrounding Teravainen include his lack of commitment to training. At 5 feet 11 inches, 178 pounds, his size is not fit to compete with the tough grind of the NHL. He’s not a toothpick; he was at 169 pounds coming into the league, but it would benefit him to reach the 185-190 weight mark.
Due to his lack of size and strength, Teravainen is more timid in the tough areas of the rink and doesn’t play aggressive enough to have an effective two-way game. He’s defensively sound from a technique standpoint, but, again, is not physical enough.
Patrick Kane came into the league at 160 pounds and is listed at about 180 pounds now, so if Teravainen puts more commitment into his training and takes advantage of Peter Friesen’s knowledge of health and the weight room, he can be an All-Star in no time.
How Teravainen Can Be an Asset
With an anticipated greater amount of playing time, Teravainen could become a much better player with the Hurricanes. Although the line of Andrej Nestrasil, Joakim Nordstrom and Jordan Staal was absolutely dominant last year (going 19 consecutive games without allowing a goal), it wouldn’t be surprising to see him on a line with Staal and Nestrasil, who are bigger bodies. We could also see him line up next to Victor Rask, who has fantastic vision as well and plays with more of an edge to his game. Rask was also ranked the Hurricanes’ best center and 29th overall at his position by Sports Illustrated. However, head coach Bill Peters says he would like Teravainen to be on a line with fellow Finland native Sebastian Aho, centered by Elias Lindholm, but everything could change at the end of training camp.
There’s been signs of flash in his game. He has a stellar hockey IQ — which is absolutely critical with the speed of today’s game — and his on-ice vision can put the puck right onto a player’s tape in a phone booth. He had to have learned a lot from Jonathan Toews, one of the most underrated offensive players in the league, being paired with him 27 percent of the time per Left Wing Lock — the most frequent pairing for Teravainen last year.
Teuvo Teravainen on his Stanley Cup in Chicago: “When you learn how to win, you want to win more and you hate to lose more, too.”
— Ryan Kennedy (@THNRyanKennedy) September 15, 2016
General manager Ron Francis has done a great job of dissecting the Chicago Blackhawks team with acquisitions of Nordstrom and Kris Versteeg and now Bryan Bickell and Teravainen. It’s hard not to want a player that has been in the Blackhawks’ system from the past eight years at the NHL or AHL level after their recent magnitude of success.
Teravainen brings a Stanley Cup ring with him already at 22-years-old. There’s a lot of anticipation to see him at his full potential. But to truly be effective — he has the skill set to be an elite player — he really needs to grow into his body.
With the Hurricanes, Teravainen will have more opportunities right away than he did with the Blackhawks. His stick skills, creativity and on-ice vision are several reasons to be excited to see him in red, black and white.