Teravainen stands out to Quenneville

Joel Quenneville believes top prospect Teuvo Teravainen will only get better as he gains experience. Steve Babineau/NHLI/Getty Images

CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville has spoken highly of the organization’s top prospect Teuvo Teravainen before.

Just never as high as he did after watching the 19-year-old Teravainen play Friday.

Teravainen especially caught the attention of his future coach during a scrimmage on the final day of the Blackhawks prospect camp. Teravainen was a threat to create scoring chances nearly every time he touched the puck during the 60-minute, running-clocking scrimmage.

“Today you get to see him play in a game situation, you see his abilities jump out,” Quenneville said Friday. “I thought he had a special day today. Over the course of the week, you can see his skills. When you put a puck down and you’re playing for real, you see his vision, anticipation and how he’s creating with the puck, and his anticipation offensively is excellent.

“He’s only going to get better with both sides of the puck as he gets over here and familiar with our game. Certainly fun watching him play and envision him playing where he’s going to be at some point in his career at the top end of the game. That’s an exciting guy to watch.”

Teravainen has often been considered the Blackhawks’ second-line center of the future, but he showed off his versatility to play wing Friday as well. He played left wing alongside Dennis Rasmussen at center and Ryan Hartman at right wing. Teravainen set up Rasmussen for a goal during the scrimmage.

Bowman said the Blackhawks haven’t committed to Teravainen at a specific position yet.

“Today in particular was really just an experiment,” Bowman said. “We had a lot of guys that were centers so somebody had to play wing. If you look at our team in Chicago and Joel has always liked versatility and players who can play both positions. Last season Teuvo played center, the year before that he played wing so it wasn’t totally foreign for him to do that.

“Having the skillset to be able to make plays, whether you’re lining up as a center or winger sometimes gets overblown a little bit. We just want our players to be versatile. We know he can play center and wing. Where he ends up down the road we’ll worry about that later.”

Blackhawks defenseman prospect Stephen Johns, another player on the cusp of the NHL, found Teravainen to be a handful whether he played on the wing or at center during the camp.

“He’s one of the most skilled players I ever went against,” Johns said. “You really don’t know what he’s going to do when he comes down. You kind of just have to play the body and not even think about playing the stick because you’re never going to touch the puck. It’s good to play against guys like that because when you move up you’re just going to play against more and more guys like that. Hopefully I can continue to improve playing against guys like that.”

Teravainen was pleased with himself throughout the camp. He especially felt good about being pushed physically during the six days.

“It was a great week for me and a tough week,” Teravainen said. “I feel tired and it's good. It's been a great week just to get to know the guys better and better and the coaches better. It was a tough week. I think I had good practice and workouts and I'm getting better all the time.”

Teravainen, who is from Finland, will remain in Chicago for the rest of the summer and continue to train in the city leading into the Blackhawks training camp in September.

Whether Teravainen begins next season in the NHL is still in question, but playing well before Quenneville on Friday was a good start. He played three regular-season games for Quenneville last season before being reassigned to the American League to finish the season.

Teravainen's next task is impressing Quenneville in training camp.

“I'm just trying to get my spot, of course,” Teravainen said of his mentality toward training camp. “Like I said, my goal is to play NHL and I'm going to go to training camp and try to get it.

“I don't know if it's going to happen right away or soon. I don't know. I'm just going to work hard and I want to play soon in the NHL.”