Teuvo Teravainen has become Blackhawks’ utility man

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Teuvo Teravainen takes Jonathan Toews’ spot on the top line Tuesday in Denver. (Getty Images)

DENVER — A year ago, Teuvo Teravainen was just trying to earn a role — any role — on the Blackhawks. These days, Teravainen doesn’t just have a role, he’s got just about every role. The second-year pro has become Joel Quenneville’s security blanket, a go-to guy to plug just about any hole in the lineup.

Three weeks ago, when Artem Anisimov suddenly fell ill, Teravainen filled in at second-line center between Artemi Panarin and Patrick Kane. On Tuesday at Colorado, Teravainen stepped into Jonathan Toews’ skates on the top line. He also kills penalties, sees spot time on the power play, and has played all three forward positions and on all four lines.

Teravainen’s primary job is third-line right wing. But he likes how Quenneville is keeping him on his toes.

“Yeah, its good,” he said before Tuesday’s game. “I can really play a lot of different positions and I’ve been playing a lot with pretty much every guy — every center, left wing, right wing on every line, too,” he said. “It’s fun. I’ve got to be ready every game. You never know.”

Teravainen has a respectable nine goals and 13 assists through 49 games, but it’s his all-around game that makes him Quenneville’s utility man.

“We like that versatility,” Quenneville said. “Having multiple roles enhances your ice time and the quality of your ice time. … Sometimes you can play him with [Kane] and Panarin after a penalty kill [when Anisimov is on the PK]. He gets to play center sometimes in games, as well. so it’s great he has that flexibility. He gives us a lot of options.” 

Teravainen’s variable role shows in his ice time, which has ranged from 13 minutes to nearly 19 minutes in the past month alone. In Toews’ spot on Tuesday, he was likely to threaten 20 minutes for the first time all season

“It’s a good chance for me,” he said. “I’ve got to be ready, and I’m really excited to get out there and play my best, I really feel like I have to take the next step right now.”

Email: mlazerus@suntimes.com

Twitter: @marklazerus

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