Teuvo Teravainen thinks he has the skills to play in the NHL right now. So does Patrick Kane. So does Joel Quenneville. But with a roster loaded with scorers, the Blackhawks can afford to be patient.
So despite the flashes of dazzling brilliance the 19-year-old Finn has shown at training camp, Teravainen is headed back home for another year of seasoning. Quenneville said Sunday that Teravainen will play in the first two or three preseason games this week, but will then be shipped back to Jokerit.
“I think we’re going to send him back and he’ll play over there, but it’s nice knowing we have a real nice piece coming,” Quenneville said on the final day of the Hawks’ stay at Notre Dame. “I just think he could turn out to be a real special player, and being patient with him is definitely the right thing to do.”
Without any top-six forward spots available, Teravainen — the 18th pick in the 2012 draft — knows he will benefit more from being a top-line center in the Finnish Elite League than a role player in Chicago.
“I feel good and I think I maybe can play here,” Teravainen said. “But I think I need to get stronger and go back to Finland and get big minutes there.”
With Jonathan Toews and Brandon Pirri both sitting out Sunday’s scrimmages with injuries that Quenneville described as “not serious,” Teravainen played on the Hawks’ top line with Kane and Bryan Bickell and scored his second goal of camp. He also had two assists during the three days of scrimmaging.
“You can tell his talent level is sky-high,” said Kane, who went straight to the NHL at age 18 as a top overall pick. “I had fun playing with him. … I think he’s going to be a good one down the road.”