Teuvo Teravainen is still the Blackhawks’ second-line center of the future. But by signing Brad Richards to a one-year contract Tuesday, the Hawks have a little leeway with just how immediate that future is.
“Now we have some latitude with Teuvo,” general manager Stan Bowman said. “He’s going to dictate when he’s ready to go. We don’t have to force anything.”
The Hawks have been adamant for months that they won’t burden their prized prospect with high expectations too early. Richards’ signing allows the 19-year-old to start the season in Rockford, or on a lower line, until he adjusts to the North American style and forces the Hawks’ hand. Andrew Shaw, meanwhile, can go back to the third-line role he has thrived in.
“We’ve talked a long time about our hopes for Teuvo,” Bowman said. “This does nothing to change that. We’re very high on his potential and his future. The one thing you have to be careful with with young players, is not putting them in situations to fail. And the good news for us is he’s just 19 years old and doesn’t turn 20 until training camp.”
Bowman had hoped that the contract extensions for Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane would be signed by July 1, but talks are still ongoing with their agent, Pat Brisson.
‘‘Nothing has changed from my original expectation that they’re both going to be signed,’’ Bowman said, ‘‘and we’re looking forward to that.”
Back in the fold
Peter Regin wanted to come back to Chicago, but he wasn’t terribly optimistic it would happen. So he was elated to sign a one-year deal worth $650,000. Like Richards, Regin — who was effective at center down the stretch for the Hawks after being acquired in February — likely could have gotten a better deal elsewhere. But staying in Chicago was his priority.
“It was always my No. 1 choice,” Regin said. “I don’t know if I could have chased more money elsewhere maybe, but that wasn’t really an option. I knew if I got an opportunity to go back to Chicago, I would take it. . . . From the months I was there, you could really feel a special atmosphere in the city and in the [locker] room and just around the rink. It’s fun to be a part of a winning team with high expectations. It’s pretty cool to be a part of.”