(CBS) As Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman has watched 21-year-old forward Teuvo Teravainen go through the typical ups and downs of a second-year player, he’s maintained a message.
As the trade deadline passed Monday with the Blackhawks having acquired four new players in recent days — forwards Andrew Ladd, Tomas Fleischmann and Dale Weise and defenseman Christian Ehrhoff — Bowman made the moves with his sights set on doing everything to put Chicago in the best position to win the Stanley Cup in this summer. A more subtle benefit, though?
Stability for Teravainen, who has recorded 26 points in 60 games while being the poster child for coach Joel Quenneville’s lineup blender. It’s only through that prism that one should judge Teravainen, Bowman said in showing his full commitment to him.
Following the new additions, Teravainen has been moved to center, which many believe he’s best at, on the third line.
“He does some really special things with the puck,” Bowman said. “He can do some things like Patrick Kane, in terms of making plays. His offensive play recognition and being able to pass the puck and set guys up is very impressive for a young player. It’s just a process for Teuvo. You try to give these guys a chance to grow slowly.
“We’ve given him a tough assignment this year because he’s played in a lot of different positions — left wing, center and right wing. He’s played on the first line, the third line, the fourth line. He’s moved around an awful lot. He kills penalties. He’s on the power play. That’s a lot on his plate for a young player, and I think we’ve bounced him around because he’s able to handle it. Other guys wouldn’t be able to do all that. I give a bunch of credit to Teuvo. I think the one hard part is he hasn’t had a whole lot of stability. He’s had different assignments, different roles. He’s tried to do his best to make the coach happy and help the team out.
“If we can get him a little more stability — and we got some more players now who’ve been in the league for a while, and hopefully we’ll be able to put him in one place and leave him there. That’s going to be the biggest benefit for Teuvo. He’s been very effective for us this year. He keeps getting better. I think the sky’s the limit for him.”
Bowman also spoke highly of 24-year-old rookie winger Artemi Panarin, who’s played alongside Kane and Artem Anisimov on Chicago’s second line that many have called the best line in hockey. Panarin’s already proved enough to Bowman that the team has contract extension talks with Panarin in mind. He’s signed through the 2016-’17 season.
“It hasn’t been just a couple weeks of a hot streak,” Bowman said. “He’s been consistently effective. His chemistry with Kane, we haven’t seen that before. Patrick’s been a dominant player, but he hasn’t had a winger like Panarin to play with. So he’s absolutely someone we want to keep around.”
Listen to Bowman’s full interview below, as he gives his thoughts on what he thinks each of Chicago’s new acquisitions can provide.