CHICAGO -- Teuvo Teravainen's loss could soon be the Chicago Blackhawks' gain.
Teravainen, a Blackhawks 2012 first-round pick, had his season ended Sunday when his team, Jokerit, was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs in the Liiga in Finland. Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said recently he expected Teravainen to join the team when his season was complete.
Quenneville said the organization would likely discuss Teravainen and his future after the Blackhawks played the Detroit Red Wings at the United Center on Sunday night.
The 19-year-old Teravainen, a forward, finished tied for sixth in the Liiga with 44 regular-season points. He had nine goals and 35 assists in 49 games. He recorded points in 17 of his last 20 regular-season games. He also helped Finland to the gold medal in the World Junior Championship in January by recording 15 points in seven games.
Teravainen participated in the Blackhawks’ training camp and played two preseason games with them this season before returning to Finland. Quenneville was impressed by him in training camp.
“I think he’s one of those players that he seems to be special as far as his play recognition, where he protects the puck, how he sees plays,” Quenneville said during the training camp. “Both sides of the puck, I think he’s really responsible defensively which at a young age is pretty remarkable, especially over here and a different type of game.”
Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane was also positive about Teravainen.
“He’s good,” Kane said during training camp. “He makes some good plays. You can tell his talent level is sky high. I had fun playing with him. It was my first time playing with him. Sometimes you got to develop some chemistry and things like that. But he’s going to be a good player.”
Teravainen could end up playing with Kane on the team’s second line soon. The Blackhawks haven’t received consistent offensive production from their second-line centers this season, and Teravainen could get an opportunity to fix that.
Quenneville thought it was possible for Teravainen to step in and play some role for the Blackhawks in the playoffs.
“I think it’s happened before,” Quenneville said on Sunday. “I can’t come to mind anybody it’s happened, but whether you have some kids coming out of junior and can help your organization, you know, young guys that this time of year that can give you a little bit of jump, as well.”
ESPN’s NHL draft and prospect analyst Corey Pronman recently ranked Teravainen as the No. 4 prospect in the NHL.
Pronman said Sunday the Liiga wasn’t nearly the same level of competition as the NHL, but he thought Teravainen had the ability to contribute to the Blackhawks right away.
“The SM-Liiga has historically been around half the quality of the NHL or all players going from the Liiga to the NHL retained half their scoring,” Pronman said. “Teenagers tend to do slightly better though due to them traditionally being high-end talents such as Teravainen.
“I think expectations have to be reasonable for what he can do down the stretch. He really only started to ‘click’ in the last few months in Finland in terms of dominant play. It's possible he'll have a similar adjustment to the physicality and pace of the NHL. If he slots in on the third line and second power play right away or reasonably soon that's probably a win for Chicago.”