Flames 2012 First Round Targets: Teuvo Teravainen



One of the most intriguing late risers on many consensus lists this year is the diminutive Finnish forward Teuvo Teravainen. His ascension to a probable top-10 pick is not only surprising because he wasn’t really on many radars a couple of years ago, but also because at 5’11" and just 165 pounds, he’s well below the typical size threshold applied to high-end prospects.

When I looked into Markus Granlund’s standing in SM-liiga scoring amongst teenagers, Teravainen’s name was one that immediately stood out: with 11 goals and 18 points in 40 games, he had the 7th highest point-per-game rate for teens in Finland last season. He jumps to second on the list when we limit ourselves to guys 17 and younger – only the highly regarded Aleksandr Barkov scored at a (slightly) higher rate than Teravainen in that sample in the SM-liiga last season.

So Teravainen is little, but his results in a pro league as a youngster are legitimate. He boasts a 1994 birthday so he’s kid who has a few years of growth ahead of him as well.

The Scouting Report

To get a clearer perspective on the player, I contacted SM-liiga editor and eliteprospects.com writer Matias Strozyk who previously helped us to better understand Markus Granlund.

Kent Wilson: Teuvo Teravainan’s stock has risen rapidly across every major consensus draft list over the last calender year or so. What made him such a rapid riser? How did he manage to "come out of nowhere" to become a top-10 talent?

Matias Strozyk: His talent was visible a couple of years ago but I couldn’t have imagined him becoming a top 10 prospect. Even a year ago I would have placed him somewhere in the 2nd round.

Teräväinen was the big surprise of 2011 and certainly didn’t look like a rookie. Jokerit gave him a reasonable offensive role and solid linemates in Riku Hahl and Jani Rita – both of whom gave balance to Teräväinen’s offensive capabilities with their defensive skills. He also got some time in the 1st line with Ben Eaves and Ilari Filppula, a line stacked with offensive talent, and was a regular on their powerplay – not bad for a 17-year-old in a championship contender, especially with the roster that Jokerit had.

KW: When we discussed Markus Granlund previously, I noted that Teravainen was one of the highest scoring teens in the SM-liiga. Where would you rank him amongst undrafted youngsters in Finland? Where would you rank him amongst all teens (drafted or otherwise) in Finland?

MS: Teräväinen might well get picked earlier than Finland’s top prospect Mikael Granlund was, but it’s hard to say how they match up against each other – in the 2012 playoffs, Teräväinen pretty much wiped the floor with Granlund, but that’s a whole other story.

Teräväinen has a better overall package than Granlund had two years ago and is a considerably better skater. Teräväinen is only a few days from being a part of next year’s draft where Alexander Barkov, who is a year younger than him, will be a big name and a possible top 3 prospect. Offensively that’s the top 3 for Finnish forwards with names like Joel Armia, Teemu Pulkkinen, Markus Granlund, Juuso Ikonen and Alexander Ruuttu a few steps behind.

KW: What are his main strengths? What would you guess his ultimate ceiling could be in the NHL?

MS: Teräväinen is a simply fantastic offensive talent. He can create chances out of nowhere but is also a pretty natural finisher. There’s nothing he can’t see on the ice and he’s just as dangerous with his speed and excellent skating as leading the powerplay.

I want to be careful about mentioning someone like Pavel Datsyuk or make any comparisons so I’ll just call Teräväinen the most exciting prospect from Jokerit since Teemu Selänne. He should be ready to make the move to North America after gaining some strength over the next couple of years and develop into a top 6 forward with reasonable scoring responsibility.

KW: The one knock I’ve seen against Teuvo is his size. Do you think that will be an issue for him in trying to translate his game in North America eventually?

MS: Bulking up is a sensitive subject since I don’t want Teräväinen to make the same mistakes as Teemu Pulkkinen while trying to gain strength and end up losing some of his speed. He needs to be careful not to hurt his solid skating while developing his physique. That same speed and his hockey sense compensates a lot of his "lack" of strength as he’s able to play his way out of trouble.

Right now I’d be more concerned about Mikael Granlund having the physique to stand up to North American contact than Teräväinen, but that depends on Teräväinen not falling behind in development. He certainly needs to fill his frame, but I don’t think size will be a negative factor.

KW: Finally, where do you expect him to be picked in the upcoming draft?

MS: I think any team from the Islanders at #4 to the Wild at #9 is possible. Teräväinen’s fast development the last six to eight months and his amazing offensive talent should solidify his spot somewhere in the top 10. I don’t want to see him end up with the Islanders so Anaheim or Minnesota would be a nice destination. It would be easier for the Ducks to eventually let go of Selänne if his "heir" was available around 2015…

Probable Target?

Teravainen has a few question marks – his size and rapid ascent suggest some risk – but his results against men and the glowing scouting reports point to a potential high-end offensive talent. The Flames weren’t afraid to take Markus Granlund in the second round last year and he had a pretty decent season in the same league (highest scoring teen outside of his brother MIkael) so I’m sure the Flames have had a few eyeballs on Teuvo this year.

Unfortunately, there’s only an outside chance Teravainen will fall outside the top-10 because of concerns about his size. Even then, it’s unlikely he’d make to the Flames at 14.

Probability he will be around by 14: Very low

Probability the Flames will (or would) pick him: High

The Targets List

  • Bean-counting cowboy

    If only his ascension had started a bit later in the year & we could have stole him at 14.

    Now if only we could identify which of the current 12-18 rated prospects has started a similiar ascension, albeit slightly later. hmmm.

  • Bean-counting cowboy

    @ Rex

    Agreed. If the Ducks don’t take him, I can’t see the Wild passing on the chance to add to their growing arsenault of talented Finns.

    TSN’s April Mock draft had him taken by the Ducks at 6, but that draft also had Grigorenko taken at 3 so … ? I think Reinhart replaces Grigorenko in top 5 & Teuvo sits roughly the same.

  • It really was a surprise to see Teravainen jump up so high in the rankings. He’s been mentioned (and possibly profiled?) before and seemed like a good choice a la Mikael Granlund.

    I get the whole “he’s too small for the NHL argument”, but once again, I will counter with only two words: Theoren. Fleury. Come on, he was small, told he wouldn’t make the NHL, and had all sorts of personal issues. He wasn’t doing cocaine when he was young so I’d like to think he had a lot of drive and talent. I mean, he DID score 50+ goals 2 or 3 times, 40+ several times, and 30+ in like 10 seasons.

    Small =/= bad. Cammalleri is small, but I think it’s his own personality and playing style that keeps him from hitting a lot. He’s a fairly high-level sniper. Marty St. Louis is crazy small – Chara’s elbows just whiff his head as he skates by and dishes Stamkos the puck. Fleury was all sorts of good on the ice.

    Plus, if a smaller player needed some height, I wouldn’t put it past Feaster to give that player some robot legs. At least they would keep them moving on the ice…

  • Also: interesting to see him compare himself to Filppula. Not that Filppula is necessarily a bad player, but he has played alongside Zetterberg most of this year (I’m sure) and last year (somewhat sure). His numbers are inflated somewhat I think. Not someone I would take at #6, or maybe even #14. Now, if he’s more like Datsyuk (one of the players he watches/emulates), then you have a dilemma.

    With all that, I doubt he’s around at 14. Ducks or Wild will definitely pick him up if Grigorenko et al. are gone.

  • Also, according to Bob McKenzie’s Twitter, Bobby Ryan is available once again.

    If Feaster wants to go hunting for the white whale again, he had better be the front runner for Bobby Ryan (at least in terms of courtship). Ryan plays both wings and hasn’t been badly injured like Parise. Granted, he plays significantly more in the offensive zone (which he rightfully should be doing), but if you had one line with Tanguay-Cammy-Iginla and one line with GlenX-Cervenka/Backlund-Ryan, that wouldn’t be half bad.

    As well, Erik Karlsson signs for $6.5M per year for 7 years. Huge contract, good for the kid. I wonder if this sets an unspoken precedent for $6.5M defencemen – is Bouwmeester still moveable, or will GMs expect more offense for the price tag?

  • Great work Kent. Unfortunately, all of the hype surrounding Teravainen will likely keep him from dropping to 14. Time will tell if that hype is warranted but he certainly has an enticing skill set. Olli Määttä next?

  • Great work Kent. Unfortunately, all of the hype surrounding Teravainen will likely keep him from dropping to 14. Time will tell if that hype is warranted but he certainly has an enticing skill set. Olli Määttä next?

  • I'm Just Sayin'

    He’ll be long gone, by the time 14 comes along. I just hope McGuire and Button are right, for once in their lives and Grigorenko falls off the radar. That would be sweet.