Hawks thrilled: Skilled Teravainen nabbed in first round
Teuvo Teravainen, a winger from Finland, pulls on a Chicago Blackhawks cap after being chosen 18th overall in the first round of the NHL hockey draft on Friday, June 22, 2012, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
Teuvo Teravainen was supposed to be long gone by the time the Blackhawks made the 18th selection in the first round of Friday's NHL entry draft.
But the skilled Finn was still there, so general manager Stan Bowman jumped at the chance to draft him.
Teravainen, 17, is small but is said to have some of the best hands in the draft. His playing style was compared to Patrick Kane's.
"We didn't expect him to be there," Bowman said. "Anytime a player of that caliber is available, you've got to take him. He's a dynamic player who can make plays."
Teravainen will spend next season playing back with Jokerit in Finland's SM-Liiga. He was rookie of the year last season playing left wing.
"I try and model my game after Patrick Kane and Pavel Datsyuk," Teravainen told reporters. "While I try and watch those guys a lot, I think I'm similar to (Detroit's) Valtteri Filppula. Valtteri is like me, a good overall player and he's fun to watch.
Goran Stubb, the NHL's director of European scouting, is high on Teravainen.
"He joined Jokerit right after the Christmas break (after a fast start with the club's Under-20 team) and proved to be a player with outstanding hockey sense and great overall skill," Stubb told NHL.com. "He was 17 but running the power play. He's not overly physical but is not intimidated by the physical game."
The elusive Teravainen, who is 5-feet-11 and a mere 165 pounds, had 12 goals and 20 points in 11 games with Jokerit's Under-20 team before producing 11 goals and 18 points in 40 games in the men's league.
Teravainen won the Jarmo Wasama Trophy as the rookie of the year.
"I felt I played well at the end of the season and played a big role for (Jokerit)," Teravainen told NHL.com. "I played a top-six role and was on the power play, and I think that's the reason I was able to play so well. In the playoffs, I also played center for the big club."
Carolina Hurricanes director of amateur scouting Tony MacDonald recently told the Raleigh News & Observer how impressed he was with Teravainen.
"He's deadly 1-on-1 and very good with the puck," MacDonald said. "He does things with the puck beyond the skill level of many players. He can distribute the puck both ways, can pass on the backhand better than most people can on their forehand."
There were three trades of significance, but none included the Hawks. That doesn't mean Bowman has given up. Bowman said he had some discussions on the draft floor and expects talks to continue in the coming days.
Two of the deals completed Friday involved second-line centers, a position the Hawks refuse to admit is an area of need.
Pittsburgh traded center Jordan Staal to Carolina in exchange for center Brandon Sutter, the eighth pick in Friday's first round, which they turned into Portland defenseman Derrick Pouliot, and a minor-leaguer.
Staal now can play with older brother Eric.
Dallas also traded center Mike Ribeiro to Washington for Cody Eakin. Ribeiro was the Stars' No. 1 center last season. And Anaheim dealt defenseman Lubomir Vishnovsky to the Islanders for a second-round draft pick.
•Follow Tim's Hawks reports on Twitter @TimSassone, and join the conversation with Hawks fans on his Between the Circles blog at dailyherald.com.
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