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Teravainen expected to be first Finn drafted Friday

Tuesday, 19.06.2012 / 3:52 PM / Feature
By Mike Morreale  - NHL.com Staff Writer

Finnish forward Teuvo Teravainen may be small in stature but he's already a proven performer among men.

The 17-year-old Teravainen had as impressive a second half to the season as one could possibly have in their draft year after being promoted to Jokerit in the prestigious SM-Liiga, the top professional league in Finland.

"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," NHL Director of European Scouting, Goran Stubb, told NHL.com. "He was 17, but running the power play. He's not overly physically but is not intimidated by the physical game."

The elusive Teravainen, who is 5-foot-11 and a mere 165 pounds, exploded for 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. The left wing was even bestowed 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."

At center, in fact, Teravainen had two goals and six points in nine postseason games. He topped all tournament scorers with six goals and eight points at the 2012 U18 Five Nations Cup in Pori, Finland, in February.

"It was pretty difficult during those playoff games," Teravainen said. "In the playoffs, things get bigger. It was tough but the coaches moved me to center and that was a good thing for me -- I had no problems there."

Carolina Hurricanes director of amateur scouting Tony MacDonald recently told the Raleigh News & Observer how impressed he was with Teravainen. The Hurricanes currently hold the No. 8 pick in Friday's opening round of the 2012 NHL Draft at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh.

"He's deadly one-on-one 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's a lot to like about this kid. The only concern, if there is one, is he's not a real big but I don't think it's going to be an issue going forward with a player with that kind of skill and that feel and the offensive dimension he brings to the table."

MacDonald actually compared Teravainen to Chicago Blackhawks center Patrick Kane. Teravainen likes the comparison.

"I try and model my game after Patrick Kane and Pavel Datsyuk," Teravainen said. "While I try and watch those guys a lot, I think I'm similar to [Detroit forward] Valtteri Filppula.

"Valtteri is like me, a good overall player and he's fun to watch."

Central Scouting expects Teravainen to be the first player from Finland off the board. He's ranked No. 2 behind Sweden's Filip Forsberg on Central's final list of draft-eligible skaters from Europe.

"He tiny, but has gone straight up the charts this season," Stubb praised. "He's playing with confidence and he ended up the season playing on the first line in Jokerit, which is huge. His understanding of the game is unbelievable and he's always in the right spot at the right time. He's a very dedicated young man and any team would be lucky to have him as part of their organization."

Teravainen knows he needs to get stronger and improve his defensive game, but he possesses all those intangibles that would be difficult for any coach to teach.

"I'll get stronger and it will take a lot of work," Teravainen said. "A lot of work in the gym. My defensive game did improve a bit later in the season and is not the problem now."

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale

Author: Mike G. Morreale | NHL.com Staff Writer

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WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - ANA 82 54 20 8 266 209 116
2 y - COL 82 52 22 8 250 220 112
3 x - STL 82 52 23 7 248 191 111
4 x - SJS 82 51 22 9 249 200 111
5 x - CHI 82 46 21 15 267 220 107
6 x - LAK 82 46 28 8 206 174 100
7 x - MIN 82 43 27 12 207 206 98
8 x - DAL 82 40 31 11 235 228 91
9 PHX 82 37 30 15 216 231 89
10 NSH 82 38 32 12 216 242 88
11 WPG 82 37 35 10 227 237 84
12 VAN 82 36 35 11 196 223 83
13 CGY 82 35 40 7 209 241 77
14 EDM 82 29 44 9 203 270 67

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
B. Wheeler 82 28 41 4 69
B. Little 82 23 41 8 64
D. Byfuglien 78 20 36 -20 56
A. Ladd 78 23 31 8 54
O. Jokinen 82 18 25 -8 43
M. Frolik 81 15 27 8 42
E. Kane 63 19 22 -7 41
M. Scheifele 63 13 21 9 34
T. Enstrom 82 10 20 -9 30
J. Trouba 65 10 19 4 29
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Montoya 13 8 3 .920 2.30
O. Pavelec 22 26 7 .901 3.01