Teuvo Teravainen donned a white sweater on Sunday, taking the top center spot for Team A in the absence of injured Brandon Pirri. His linemates: Patrick Kane and Bryan Bickell. Not bad.
For the Finnish forward, it was another chance to impress. And he didn’t disappoint.
Teravainen will be heading back to Finland soon, although not before playing in a scrimmage or two for the Blackhawks. While the 19-year-old will go home to hone his game and get stronger, he had a strong couple of days as the Blackhawks wrapped up the Notre Dame portion of training camp. And his talent bodes well for the Blackhawks’ future.
“He’s one of those players who’s special as far as his play recognition, how he protects the puck and sees plays,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “He’s responsible defensively at a young age, which is pretty remarkable, especially over here in a different type of game. He had a nice day, but he’s had a good week as well.”
Teravainen had played on Team B in previous scrimmages. But with Pirri kept out for precautionary reasons for an injury Quenneville deemed “not serious,” it was a chance to put Teravainen with Team A’s top guns.
“It was pretty awesome there,” said Teravainen. “(Training camp) has been fun. My legs are tired, though. It’s tough. But it’s fun to play here with good guys. It’s a great experience for me.”
Kane talked earlier this week about Teravainen’s talent. He saw it up close on Sunday.
“He’s good. You can tell his talent level is sky high,” said Kane. “It was fun playing with him. The first time playing with guys, sometimes you have to develop some chemistry. But he’s going to be a good player.”
There’s a lot of upside in Teravainen’s game, but he’s still developing. He admits he needs to get stronger, and he’ll be looking to do that when he returns to Finland.
“I’ll go back and get big minutes there,” Teravainen said. “I think it’s possible (to play here), but it’s better for me to go back to Finland.”
The young forward showed his talent during these first few days of training camp. The Blackhawks won’t rush him along; considering the depth in their lineup and in Rockford, there’s no need. But they’re looking forward to a future that includes him.
“He’s a young kid. And the Europeans, give them that extra year and they’re stronger and ready for the (NHL) grind,” Quenneville said. “He can turn out to be a real special player. Being patient with him is definitely the right thing to do. It’s nice to know there’s a real nice piece coming (in the future).”