Why now was the right time for Teuvo Teräväinen to return to the Chicago Blackhawks

Teuvo Teräväinen remembers it all.

Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson joked he wasn't sure if Teräväinen remembers Davidson picking him up from the airport as he was joining the Blackhawks from Finland in 2014.

Teräväinen, who will turn 30 soon, remembers that car ride.  

"I remember I was hanging out with him a little bit," Teräväinen said during a media zoom call Tuesday morning. "He was driving me around and helping with the small things. I was a young player, I didn’t know anything, I just came from Europe, so it was awesome to have some people to help me out. He seemed like a good guy back then, so it’s not a big surprise where he’s at right now."

Ten years later, Teräväinen returned to Chicago after a stint with Carolina, agreeing to a multi-year deal that pays him like a top-six linesman should be paid.

There were other teams asking about Teräväinen. But, when he heard the Blackhawks were interested, the Finnish winger said this was the right time to return to the team that brought him into the league a decade ago.

"When I heard they might be interested, I was right away very interested," Teräväinen said. "I had a few options but I felt like it’s the right time for me right now."

Returning to Chicago will put Teräväinen atop the list of offensive options in Chicago. Last season, Teräväinen recorded 53 points on 25 goals and 28 assists in 76 regular-season games with the Hurricanes.

Among those stats, his 25 goals were a career high. He also recorded a career high with four game-winning goals. In the playoffs, Teräväinen recorded six points with two goals and four assists in 11 postseason contests with Carolina this postseason.

While in Carolina, the biggest thing Teräväinen learned was how to play a multi-faceted style of hockey. He also got older, which brought more maturity.

Teräväinen didn't try to fit his preferred style of play with the Hurricanes. Instead, he learned how to change his play to fit what Carolina needed.

"I learned to play how they play over there," Teräväinen said. "I should be older and a better player. Hopefully, I can bring a little of everything, experience and all-around play."

Specifically, that maturity that Teräväinen gained is what attracted the Blackhawks' front office to him.

While it's one thing to reunite a fan base with a familiar face, it's another to understand that one player will benefit the team off the ice as much as he can on the ice.

"We're thrilled to have Teuvo back in Chicago," Blackhawks General Manager Kyle Davidson said in a statement announcing the team agreed to terms with Teräväinen. "He was a big part of our 2015 Stanley Cup team and we're excited to have his leadership and experience back in our room."

Of course, Teräväinen was brought to Chicago to assist a budding star. 

In 2014, Teräväinen learned how to play alongside Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. Now, he's going to be a primary asset for NHL reigning Rookie of the Year Connor Bedard. 

Teräväinen said he's seen the highlights and he knows how talented Bedard is. Teräväinen also knows what needs to happen for the Blackhawks to improve.

"Young, for sure, but hopefully I can help him get better," Teräväinen said. "That would be cool to play with him."

The return for Teräväinen is sure to evoke a reminder of how he departed Chicago.

The Blackhawks sent Teräväinen to Carolina to shed Bryan Bickell's contract in 2016. 

Just like Teräväinen remembers Davidson as his welcome to Chicago, he also recalls how difficult it was to get over the news of that trade/

Teräväinen also remembers how much he improved as a player as a Hurricane.

"At that time it was good for me. I got to play bigger minutes and grow as a player," Teräväinen said. "But, yeah, it took a couple of days to get over the shock at that time."

In Carolina, Teräväinen played eight seasons. He was a part of the team's playoff appearances in the last six seasons, too.

At 30, he's won a Stanley Cup with an NHL dynasty and has been a part of a team that built itself from the ground up.

That experience will only benefit him and the Blackhawks this season.

"(It's) kind of the same situation I’m going to now," Teräväinen said. "Young team, trying to get better,"  


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