No one expected Teuvo Teravainen to be so low on the list in the 2012 NHL Draft. In fact, many hockey pundits fully expected him to be one of the top five chosen.
But one by one, other guys got the nod from other teams. Finally, at the 18th overall pick, the Chicago Blackhawks seized the moment and took the 17-year-old Finn. They were so surprised at his availability that they didn’t even have a nameplate for his draft jersey.
His name is known in the Windy City now, as word spread of his jump from Jokerit’s under-20 team, where he scored 12 goals and 20 points in 11 games, to its senior team halfway through the 2011-2012 season. On the men’s team, he scored 11 goals and 18 points in 20 games and was named Rookie of the Year.
From the day of the draft, Teravainen was compared to fellow Blackhawk and first round pick, Patrick Kane. Both have a similar physical build and similar skills – in fact, Teravainen has said that Kane is his favorite player and tries to mold his own game on Kane’s. Another similarity is that both are versatile at both wing and center.
It’s that versatility that was showcased at the Blackhawks’ prospect camp in July. He was used as a center for the week and earned two goals and two assists in three scrimmages. Even at his young age, his skills seemed more developed than most of his fellow prospects.
By all accounts, Teravainen will be a great asset to the Blackhawks once he’s on the roster. While his age and still-developing skill may keep him in Europe for another year or two, he’ll spend that time honing his game to NHL caliber. Before you know it, he could be on a line next to his favorite player.
ETA: late 2013 at the earliest