When considering the long-term contract situations of the Chicago Blackhawks, many look for replacements to come directly from the AHL Rockford IceHogs. And while there are some NHL-ready players, including the now traded Jimmy Hayes, Kyle Beach and Dylan Olsen, the most intriguing prospect the Blackhawks currently have plays in Europe. His name is Teuvo Teravainen.
The name may sound familiar, as Teravainen was in fact a part of this season’s training camp and preseason. It was there where many got their first good look at the 18th overall pick in the 2012 NHL Draft. Despite being only 19, Teravainen displayed his raw talent on NHL ice, impressing many.
However, the Blackhawks’ intentions with Teravainen were clear from the beginning. He was going to need another season with his Finnish League team Jokerit, a team that sends many prospects to the NHL. Teravainen, despite a great skill set which has given him 16 points in 25 games this season, weighs between 165 and 170 pounds, and is still far too small for the NHL.
Going forward, Teravainen is now once again fully acclimated to European ice, so his stats should see a nice boost that lines up with his career progression. Blackhawks fans will get their chance to see him when he joins the Finnish Under-20 National Team this spring, this time in an increased role. Thanks to the depth of the Finnish team, scouts will also get to see Teravainen in comparison to other NHL level prospects.
After the Finnish season, the future for Teravainen is wide open. Per ESPN’s Scott Powers, the Blackhawks may have an interest to bring Teravainen on board once rosters expand. As general manager Stan Bowman told Powers, “That’s an option. He’s signed. I think there are a lot of factors that go into it — when his season ends and where he’s at that point.”
Any American ice Teravainen sees this season would further prove that the Blackhawks believe they have a franchise-type player in development. Thanks to an increasing salary cap and some key contracts needing renewal in 2015-16, having a player in development with Teravainen’s talent waiting for an opportunity will only benefit the Blackhawks further.
Follow Mike Guzman on Twitter @Mike486.