MONTREAL, QC. — Sade’s 1984 hit single “Smooth Operator” was ahead of Teuvo Teräväinen’s time, this Finn sings the same tune. Teräväinen possesses high-end vision and puck possession skills that can dictate the flow of a game.
Teuvo, a native of Helsinki, Finland, is known throughout the Finnish elite league for his ability to change a game. Teräväinen plays a think-first game, using his high end hockey IQ to remain a few steps ahead of the opposition — this is a very effective winger who can create a flurry of offensive opportunities.
Teuvo is a playmaking winger, strong in puck distribution to make the most of his linemates. The Finn is not a flashy dangler, although he has the talent to do so, as he prefers to use his quick moves and smarts to outwit his opponents and force them to make mistakes. The Helsinki native is always in the right place at the right time, which only adds to his repertoire of skill, making him a dangerous threat. To add to his arsenal is an alarmingly accurate wrist shot, which scouts say catches many opposing netminders off-guard.
Teräväinen does not own an explosive stride like some of his draft class peers, but he is not slow by any means. If he could develop more acceleration in his game Teuvo would truly be a force to be reckoned with. Teuvo needs to add muscle to his five foot eleven, one hundred and sixty five pound frame, as he does not have enough strength to tangle with bigger forwards of the NHL. With his lean body he tends to avoid board play, and thus remains more of a perimeter player — with some added weight he can be physically involved and will likely be a more effective player.
Teräväinen has drawn many comparisons to Edmonton Oilers forward Ales Hemsky, although it is believed that with time and proper development he could become a more complete player. What will likely help Teuvo is that today’s NHL superstars are no longer limited by height as some of the best players in the game are under six feet tall — with strong work ethic the young Finn may be able to soar. With much work to be done, scouts believe that Teräväinen can still develop into a top-line player in the NHL as he carries an array of skills that most players would find difficult to match.
Teuvo Teräväinen is projected to be drafted in the top ten of this year’s NHL Entry Draft, and many scouts believe that he has the potential to be a surprise selection sneaking into the top five. With Teräväinen smooth play style he may be one day dubbed the “Smooth Operator” as he can seamlessly change the rhythm of the game on a whim, one of the rarest of abilities.