Carolina Hurricanes winger Teuvo Teravainen was more understanding than sad when the Chicago Blackhawks traded him to the Carolina Hurricanes.
Teravainen, a skilled playmaking forward who was a first-round draft pick in 2012, simply couldn’t move up the depth chart on the Hawks. With Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa and Artemi Panarin in front of him, Teravainen realized he needed a change.
“Surprise of course. You never know what happens and I think it will be a pretty good thing for me. Young team and I think I will get a new chance and I think it will be good for me,” Teravainen said. “I think they will give me a good chance. It’s up to me with how I can take it. In Chicago there were always those players who take the ice-time and power play time and everything so you’re always a little behind there like a third-line guy. I think in Carolina I will get a huge chance so I’m pretty excited.”
The 22-year-old Teravainen’s offense and shiftiness has always been his best asset. With Jokerit in 2013-14 he had 44 points in 49 games played. He struggled to find his footing his first two seasons in the NHL with nine points in 37 games, but started to get his rhythm in Chicago’s run to the Stanley Cup in 2014-15. In 18 games he notched 10 points, and began to flash his offensive potential.
Last season, Teravainen had 35 points in 78 games as he seemed to be unable to crack Chicago’s top two lines.
He was considered expendable as a way for the salary cap strapped team to unload Bickell’s contract. When Teravainen got the call he had been traded he wasn’t all that surprised.
“It’s a lot business and hockey in those trades, I don’t know a lot about those. I don’t know,” the young Finnish forward said. “I knew the Blackhawks had trouble with the cap and they had to move something.”
Teravainen’s potential as an NHL player is still unclear. He’s young and hasn’t played a top-six role consistently yet in this league. Those who have played against him know his skill and believe he can put it together in the right situation.
“Even when he came into the league, I think (we saw) his skill level and the way he can handle the puck and his hockey sense, all that. But I think you see how he got stronger over the years, and he competes more and he kind of wants to get involved more, I think that’s natural when you get a little bit older and you get more games under your belt. I think you can see that,” Minnesota Wild captain Mikko Koivu said. “I think he’s still the same player with his hockey sense and the way he can make something out of it that seems to be nothing but he can create because he’s such a smart player.”
Said Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne, “He’s really skilled, has a good shot and he likes to pass the puck too. Just his vision. Offensively he’s really dangerous, that’s why you know right away he’s on the ice playing against him.”
The chance to get off to a strong start for 2016-17 starts at the World Cup for Teravainen. Team Finland has come in the top three in the last four international ‘best-on-best’ tournaments, dating back to the 2004 World Cup, and if they go deep in the 2016 World Cup, Teravainen could be involved with quite a few meaningful games before the start of the season.
Then again, with the skilled Finns, he may find himself buried on another depth chart – but trying to fight is way up a lineup is something he’s already used to.
Said Teravainen, “The World Cup is the best hockey you can get here right away.”