By Jay Zawaski-
(CBS) As soon as Teuvo Teravainen’s Liiga season in Finland ended, Teuvo-mania became a real thing in Chicago. Coach Joel Quenneville told the McNeil and Spiegel Show that the dynamic young Finn would join the Blackhawks and get a look with the team, while general manager Stan Bowman said he wasn’t concerned about burning a contract year, which the Hawks would have to do if he had played in 10 games. If Teravainen showed he was ready to contribute, he’d play.
That was like throwing gasoline on the fire.
So here we are, almost three weeks removed from his NHL debut, and the 19-year-old Teravainen has appeared in only three games. He’s recorded zero points and four shots on goal. He simply hasn’t been as impressive as many Blackhawks fans dreamed.
It’s become abundantly clear that Teravainen isn’t in the Blackhawks’ postseason plans. They’ve opted to play Jeremy Morin, Joakim Nordstrom and others in his place. He’s not ready, so he won’t play.
As excited as I was to see Teuvo play, I totally understand and agree with the plan to not use him in the postseason and burn the contract year. I’d like to see him play in another regular-season game or two, but the Hawks need to find out what they have in other prospects. Teravainen hasn’t been good enough to justify playing in the playoffs or burning the contract year.
By no means does this mean the Hawks have soured on Teravainen. In fact, the parts of his game most people worried about (defense, faceoffs, adjustment to physicality) were what he did best in his brief look. He showed great two-way awareness and threw as many checks as he took. His offensive game will come around in time.
Teravainen should still have a strong NHL career. Don’t let three so-so games ruin your perception of one of hockey’s elite prospects. He should be a key part of the Blackhawks for years to come, even if he’s not for a postseason run this year.
UPDATE : Thursday, April 10th, the Blackhawks sent Teravainen down to Rockford. He will finish his season in the American Hockey League. This is the best thing for Teravainen, who will have a chance to play big minutes in the North American game.
Jay Zawaski covers the Blackhawks for CBSChicago.com and 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter at @JayZawaski670.