Teravainen leads Finland to gold; Hawks prospects make splash at WJC
The 2014 World Juniors hockey championship has come to a close, and when the dust cleared it was the underdog Finns walking home with the gold, Sweden taking silver and Russia ousting Canada for the bronze. The tournament, which took place in Malmo, Sweden, featured several Hawks prospects, and provided a possible glimpse of the future for Chicago’s team.
The top prospect of the tournament for the Hawks was Teuvo Teravainen, the Hawks first-round pick in last year’s draft. Teravainen was chosen as Team Finland’s captain, and led the entire tournament with 15 points (2 G, 13 A) including an assist on the OT game-winner in the gold medal game. Though Nashville prospect Filip Forsberg was named the tournament’s MVP, Teravainen had one of the best showings, drawing the attention of many with his offensive skills and hockey IQ. Though normally an offensive powerhouse, Teravainen also played well in the defensive zone and saw some time on the tournament-leading PK as well. He was also named to the media all-star team.
On Team USA, the Blackhawks had two prospects who made a significant impact- Ryan Hartman, the 30th pick of the 2013 draft, and Vince Hinostroza, a 6th round pick in 2012. Hartman, a returning member from last year’s gold-medal team, notched 4 points in 5 games, including one PPG. Hinostroza, a late addition to the Team USA roster, made the squad and had an immediate impact. His 5 points (3 G, 2 A) put him in the top five for USA scoring, and the Chicago native finished with a +2.
Robin Norell, a 4th round pick in the 2013 draft, played defense for a stingy Swedish team that finished with the highest SV % in the tourney (93.41%). Norell was partnered with Robert Haag, a draft pick of Philadelphia, and played on a penalty kill that finished behind only Finland overall. Norell finished with 1 goal and a +3 rating.
Teravainen continues to dazzle, and many hope that he may eventually be a permanent solution to the second-line center problem that has plagued the Hawks for 3 years now. Teravainen is small but with a hockey IQ off the charts, and very skilled hands, and is strikingly similar to Patrick Kane. Hinostroza had a suprisingly successful tournament for playing bottom-6 minutes, particularly since he was such a late invite to the team and was fighting to stay in the mix for the final roster. Hartman had continued success during his second year on the international team, and will likely continue his development with Rockford sometime in the upcoming season. Norell also contributed on a talented Swedish squad, often playing against top opposition lines.
World Juniors often provides a preview of what may come as the years go by, and while these prospects, might not break into the NHL next year, there are dozens of NHL players today who competed in the tournament, including Jonathan Toews, John Tavares, and Alex Ovechkin. For the Hawks, the tournament was an overall positive experience, showcasing 4 of their draft picks playing at the highest level of competition available for them at this level, on a stage bigger than any they have likely played before.