Teuvo Teravainen’s season, at least on the other side of the pond, ended on Sunday. Now the anticipation for his arrival on this side of the Atlantic is in full swing.
Teravainen’s Finnish squad Jokerit was eliminated from the postseason on Sunday afternoon, and Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said he and team brass will discuss the center’s arrival after Sunday night’s game.
The 19-year-old Teravainen, who had a solid training camp before heading back to his homeland, is a much-anticipated arrival here. He had a strong season with Jokerit and was a standout for gold medal-winning Finland in the world junior hockey tournament in January.
Count Quenneville among those who’d like to see what the Teravainen can do down the stretch.
“He got stronger and better defensively. There seems to be an awareness,” Quenneville said of Teravainen. “You watched him in world juniors, he was one of the top guys and had the puck a lot. His recognition is really high end. I think improving his strength is something that also happened over the course of a year.”
Asked if Teravainen could play in the postseason, Quenneville didn’t rule it out.
“It’s happened before,” he said. “Whether you’ve got some kids coming out of juniors who can help the organization, young guys at this time of year can give you jump.”
Indeed, it has happened before here. Marcus Kruger came from Sweden to play the Blackhawks’ final seven regular-season games and five postseason games in April of 2011. Brandon Saad, who played most of 2011-12 with the Saginaw Spirit, played in two postseason games against Phoenix that season.
But however Teravainen fits into the lineup, the Blackhawks are not going to put the onus on him. General manager Stan Bowman said that prior to the Stadium Series game on March 1.
“The nice thing for us with Teuvo is we don’t need to rely on him, even if he does come over. He’s not going to be focal point of our team,” Bowman said at the time. “At that age, you can’t put expectations too high. He’s going to be another player if he comes in, but he certainly has the talent to play with high-end players here. If it works out, would be a great addition.”