Teuvo Teravainen might end very well up a center. It’s been assumed that was the plan since the Blackhawks grabbed him with the 18th overall pick of the 2012 draft.
At least for Sunday night’s 4-1 win over the Minnesota Wild, that’s not where Teravainen is playing. After playing on a wing with center Andrew Shaw and Patrick Sharp on Friday in Edmonton, Teravainen was back on the right as he skates in his seventh career game.
The fact he’s playing – not where – is what matters to the 20-year-old rookie.
“I’ll play wherever they (want) me to play,” Teravainen said. “I’m happy to play, so every time I get the chance to go out there I try to play my best.”
By all accounts, Teravainen made progress Friday against the Oilers. During what was a forgettable night for most of his teammates, Teravainen played a season-high 14:42 and was one of the most active Hawks.
“He had a great game last game. He had a lot of opportunities,” Shaw said after the Hawks’ morning skate. “He made some good plays and he’s confident with the puck. We need that in him. He’s going to be huge for us.”
Eventually, Teravainen’s path could take him back to the middle. For now it’s not where he is, though he is on a line with a former center in Sharp and a current one in Shaw, something that has obvious advantages.
“I think it’s good. If someone gets caught low they know what they’re doing,” Shaw said. “They’re always supporting all over the ice. I think we have some good chemistry.”
Hawks coach Joel Quenneville has also liked what he’s seen from Teravainen, and also knows that he can play all over the lineup, something he’s done in his brief time back in the NHL.
“We’ve got all our centermen healthy right now. I still think that whether it’s Shawzy in the middle or him in the middle is an option to change as you go along taking faceoffs,” Quenneville said. “Those guys can jump in – particularly when it’s on the right side – but when he’s on the right side I don’t mind his decision making. I think he moves to the right areas and in a short amount of time I’ve been happy with the way he’s played.”
Teravainen’s also had to learn a lot thanks to playing all over the lineup, something he sees as a positive.
“It’s good. I get more ready,” Teravainen said. “Whatever it is I’m ready to go there.”
That progress continued Sunday. Though he’s still waiting for his first NHL point, Teravainen impressed Quenneville again with four shots in 16 shifts and 14:41 of ice time.
“He was fine. I think these last two games… he makes a lot of nice plays, some nifty moves, good play recognition,” Quenneville said. “Some plays where he wows you because you haven’t seen that move before from a lot of people, so it’s fun to watch.”