Teuvo Teravainen will start this season with AHL Rockford rather than in the NHL with Chicago, even though he feels he’s ready to be a big-league player.
“I’m not surprised, but of course I’m a little disappointed,” Teravainen said of his situation, per ESPN Chicago. ” I’m here now [Rockford], and that’s what it is.
“I think I’m in that level to play in the NHL, but it’s a situation where now I’m here. I try to help the team and play my best here. Now it’s like, try to focus, play better here, and if I get a chance at some point, just be ready all the time.”
Teravainen, 20, believes he’s ready to play with the ‘Hawks right now, especially after spending three years playing professionally in Finland’s SM-liiga. Last year, Teravainen scored 44 points in 49 games for Jokerit and dominated the World Juniors, scoring 15 points in seven games for the gold medal-winning Finnish side.
But dominating international competition is quite different from doing it at the NHL level — especially with the quality options Chicago has in-house. The club doesn’t want a dynamic offensive player like Teravainen playing in the bottom six, but its top two center spots are already filled by Jonathan Toews and Brad Richards.
So, it’s Rockford for Teuvo — but maybe not for the entire season.
“Certainly we liked his camp,” Chicago head coach Joel Quenneville explained. “And getting exposure to systems, NHL pace, because the AHL is a good league, and get comfortable with systems and strength. Turning pro is a big step, and it’ll be good for him to play in some games.
“Yes, [he] has all the ingredients. Strength and experience is what’ll get him here and playing confident, sees plays. I feel he’s going to play for sure.”