Teuvo Teravainen's return to Blackhawks not only revives 'good memories' but also fills a hole

Teravainen’s new three-year contract in Chicago — signed eight years after he was traded away — creates plenty of opportunities for nostalgia. The Finnish forward should be an influential addition moving forward, too.

SHARE Teuvo Teravainen's return to Blackhawks not only revives 'good memories' but also fills a hole
Returning Chicago Blackhawks hockey player Teuvo Teravainen

Teuvo Teravainen is back on the team with which he began his NHL career.

Harry How/Getty file

Teuvo Teravainen was so excited to find an old Blackhawks hat stuffed away at his home in Finland that he didn’t immediately notice the dead spider stuck to the underside.

Donning the dusty, circa-2015 hat for a virtual news conference Tuesday — a welcome back to Chicago — the 29-year-old forward said it was an easy decision to accept a three-year deal with the Hawks last week despite multiple offers in free agency.

“When I heard they might be interested, I was, right away, very interested,” Teravainen said. “I know the city. I have good memories from there. I just felt [it was] a good path for me right now. I can join a young team. Hopefully I can help them get back to the playoffs.”

There’s a lot of nostalgia involved in this reunion — for Teravainen, the Hawks and their fans alike. Back in the day, the Hawks’ 2012 first-round pick was the shy, lovable baby brother of the dynasty era. His eruption for 10 points in 18 games during the 2015 Stanley Cup run — despite playing in only 37 career NHL games before that postseason — cemented his status as a fan favorite.

Hawks general manager Kyle David-son experienced that phenomenon firsthand. At the time, he was a relatively anonymous staffer well below then-GM Stan Bowman, who infamously surrendered Teravainen to the Hurricanes in an ill-advised June 2016 trade predicated on shedding forward Bryan Bickell’s contract.

Davidson actually picked up Teravainen from the airport on his first trip to Chicago.

“I don’t even know if he remembers me or knows that that guy that picked him up is the same person that signed him now,” Davidson said last week. “We shared a couple of meals out together. He didn’t know anyone, so I was giving him the lay of the land.

“He’s 29 [now]. Holy jeez. That’s, for me, where it feels like, ‘OK, I’ve been around a little while, too.’ The years have gone by so fast that you lose track.”

Teravainen does remember his initial time with Davidson, calling it a “funny story right now when he’s the GM and not the driver anymore.”

Stanley Cup Blackhawks Lightning Hockey

Teravainen’s return will lead to plenty of reminiscing over the 2015 Stanley Cup title.

Chris Carlson/AP file photo

There will be plenty more reminiscing the next few months before the regular season begins Oct. 8 in Utah. But starting then, the Hawks will find out exactly how much their many summer additions have improved their team. They have high expectations that Teravainen, who averaged 65 points per 82 games over the last seven years with the Hurricanes, will be one of the most influential of those additions.

“Teuvo has played with good players in Carolina, and [forward] Tyler [Bertuzzi has] shown he can play with some really good players and complement more skilled players very well, so there’s a lot of versatility there to how the coaches can use them,” Davidson said. “Their ability to play top-six minutes in offensive roles was the main appeal.”

Over the last three years, Teravainen had far more ice time alongside Hurricanes center Sebastian Aho than anyone else, and they delivered great results. During their five-on-five time together, the Hurricanes’ scoring-chance ratio was 53.5% while outscoring opponents 73-47.

The idea is that Teravainen could soon play a similar role alongside star center Connor Bedard, although Bertuzzi, Philipp Kurashev and Taylor Hall also will compete for the two first-line wing spots. Hawks coach Luke Richardson, who long has admired the Hurricanes’ fast-skating, high-pressure system, wants Teravainen to bring that same approach to Chicago.

His underrated defensive skills could help cover for Bedard’s weaknesses there. And his ability to contribute to the forecheck, maintain puck possession and pass accurately could create more opportunities for Bedard to unleash his deadly shot.

“I’ve seen all [of Bedard’s] highlights,” Teravainen said. “He seems like a pretty good player. [He’s] young for sure, but hopefully I can help him get better.”

Latest on the Blackhawks
The Hawks’ prospect pool is almost overflowing with talent after adding in their 2024 draft class, including the defenseman taken with the No. 2 overall pick.
The defenseman drafted No. 2 overall will officially turn pro for the 2024-25 season. He will likely end up starting the season with Rockford in the AHL.
Bertuzzi, who first heard about the Hawks’ interest through Foligno, appreciates the length of his new four-year contract. Plus, updates on Ryan Greene, Gavin Hayes and more Hawks prospects.

The Latest
Preliminary information indicates the person may have already been lying in the road before he was struck, officials said.
Just before 2 a.m., the man, 42, was sitting in a parked vehicle in the 9800 block of South Ellis Avenue when he was shot in the head, Chicago police said.
Too often, insurers deny coverage for genetic tests that have been established as a standard of modern health care and can have a significant impact on people’s lives.
Her boyfriend’s family watched him pop the question, and woman’s aunt is hurt that she wasn’t invited too.