Chicago Blackhawks recall Teuvo Teravainen from Rockford
The long-awaited callup of the Blackhawks' top prospect finally takes place after Kris Versteeg suffers injury in the Winter Classic.
...And there was much rejoicing.
The Chicago Blackhawks made the move that many have been clamoring for all season on Friday afternoon, calling up forward Teuvo Teravainen from the Rockford Icehogs. The move comes the day after the Hawks lost Kris Versteeg to injury in the Winter Classic, with Teuvo's recall likely signalling that the Blackhawks will be without Versteeg for quite a bit.
While it's extremely unfortunate that it took an injury to the forward who is third on the Hawks in points, it's refreshing that the move has finally taken place. In Teuvo, the Blackhawks are adding another weapon to a group that is certainly not short on them. He's widely considered to be one of the top prospects in hockey, and represents a premium offensive talent.
Teuvo has been lauded for his hands and on-ice vision, with many likening him to Patrick Kane since the moment he was drafted. He's found plenty of success for the Icehogs this season, going for 23 points (6 G, 17 A) in 33 games after a bit of a quiet start. At the time of his callup, he was second on the team in overall points, and second in helpers, as well as second in shots, with 92. That last number is somewhat significant, as his reluctance to shoot was an early criticism.
As he prepares to make his 2014-15 debut with the Blackhawks on Sunday night, the question heads directly towards how he will be deployed in this lineup. He's not going to replace Versteeg on the left side of that second line, but could find himself serving as the pivot on the third line, with Andrew Shaw moving out of the middle (even more rejoicing). Given how much time Patrick Sharp has spent in the bottom six of late, it's possible that he could join him on the right side. That would also give him a veteran presence, a scoring winger, and a two-way player to aid him in his development.
The deal has always seemed to be that when Teuvo was recalled, he would be here for good. The move certainly signals that it could be at least a few weeks without Versteeg, and someone else will likely be supplanted in the lineup by the time he returns from injury. Regardless of that situation, this callup was one of the major storylines heading into the year, and it represents a major source of excitement moving forward. Teuvo's a player that has the potential to do something eye-opening each time he steps out on the ice, and we're finally going to see that at the game's highest level.
Randy Holt is a staff writer for Second City Hockey. You can follow him on Twitter @RandallPnkFloyd.