Teuvo Teravainen normally spends summers in his native Finland relaxing following the previous hockey season and preparing for the next.
These days, the Chicago Blackhawks’ top prospect has a new residence.
“The gym has been my home this summer,” Teravainen said Friday via phone from Toronto, where he is participating in the 2014 NHLPA Rookie Showcase. “I’m working with (Hawks strength coach Paul Goodman). I feel a lot stronger right now.”
Teravainen arrived in Chicago just prior to the Hawks’ Prospect Camp in mid-July and has set up shop there in an effort to gain strength and size to aid his bid for a roster spot for the 2014-15 NHL season. Under Goodman’s tutelage, Teravainen has been working out five days a week (“he says what to do and I do it”) to increase body mass which will help combat the rigors of playing in the NHL.
By all accounts, Teravainen has the skills to play in the league but needs to add bulk to withstand an often punishing sport. So far, so good as after being listed at 169 pounds following last season during which he appeared in three games with the Hawks and at 176 at the start of Prospect Camp, the 5-foot-11-inch Teravainen said he is now around 180. More important, the forward said he is stronger than ever before.
“I feel really good,” Teravainen said. “I feel a lot bigger right now than when I came here six weeks ago and that’s good.”
Teravainen said there is no target weight for him to attain, just so “my body feels good and I’m stronger is all that matters. It helps with everything, my skating, my battling in the corners and on my faceoffs.”
Along with other Hawks prospects such as Stephen Johns, Adam Clendening and Ryan Hartman, Teravainen has also been skating two or three times a week and is ramping that up with training camp less than a month away.
The question remains as to whether any of those players breaks through to the NHL in ’14-15, but Teravainen believes he’s ready.
“My goal is to play in the NHL this season, of course,” he said. “I know that’s a hard thing because there are so many good guys playing. I go to training camp and I try to make the team and that’s my biggest goal. I just need to be good every day and when I get my chance I need to play well.”
Many have penciled Teravainen in as the Hawks’ No. 2 center of the future, but the 19-year-old said he is not limiting his prospects to playing in the middle.
“I don’t know what number center I’m going to be or a winger,” Teravainen said. “If you’re a really good player there’s always a spot for you. I just live day by day and I’ll go to the camp and I’ll play wherever they put me.”
As far as adapting to living in North America off the ice, Teravainen is getting out quite a bit—on the links.
“The golf courses are pretty nice,” he said. “I go out on them a lot with the guys I work out with: Johns, Clendening, Hartman. We have intense golf games.”
Teravainen took a brief pause from the workouts and golf course to participate in this weekend’s Rookie Showcase with 32 of other top NHL rookies and prospects. The players had their pictures taken by Upper Deck for use in upcoming trading card and memorabilia launches.
It will result in Teravainen’s first NHL trading card.
“It’s pretty cool to get my own card,” he said.