Prospect Ramblings: Season pivotal for young trio (July) 18

David McDonald

2016-07-18

Traded from a powerhouse in Chicago, Teuvo Teravainen will assume a more important role in Carolina.

 

 

Welcome back to an impromptu Prospect Ramblings!

Today, I look at three prospects who should have an opportunity to take the next step in their NHL careers this season. These prospects can entrench themselves as bona fide members of their organization and continue to evolve as players in the league.

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While having Bryan Bickell off the books may be nice, paying Teuvo Teravainen as the moving fee had to have been a tough pill to swallow for Blackhawks’ GM Stan Bowman — even to keep Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane.

Call it the cost of doing business.

With this move, however, Teravainen is going to get the opportunity to do something he was never going to in Chicago – be a potential top-line, offensive contributor. With Toews and Kane firmly entrenched as the go-to for offensive production in the Blackhawks’ lineup, the young Finn was going to see more opportunity on a second line, and second-unit special teams.

Enter the Carolina Hurricanes, a franchise looking to rebuild, and a team that presents an excellent chance to show off his excellent offensive talents.

After parting ways with Eric Staal, the club’s de facto first-line center for the past decade, Carolina adds Teravainen to Elias Lindholm and Jordan Staal as the team’s top three pivots. While he has not established himself in his two seasons in the NHL, Teravainen will be counted on to provide offense on a club without the lofty goals of a recent Stanley Cup champion.

Though he’s only 21, there will be an expectation that higher point totals are coming down the pipe. One thing is absolutely certain, though, playing time will increase, and Teravainen is going to be seen as a piece of an increasingly impressive pool of young players that includes Lindholm, Haydn Fleury, Alex Nedeljkovic, Jake Bean and Julien Gauthier.

If he wants to lay claim to a spot, the clock is ticking.

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While I don't think there is a huge population of Leafs fans who agree with Don Cherry's disappointment with the Toronto Maple Leafs decision to draft William Nylander over Nick Ritchie in 2014, Anaheim Ducks fans certainly were fine with it.

 

Nick Ritchie trades knuckles with Jarred Tinordi, demonstrating the physical aspect he will bring to the Anaheim Ducks:

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At 20, it is unfair to expect Ritchie to walk onto a Ducks’ roster and become an impact player. This young man is still quite raw, and has a great deal of potential that must be nurtured and developed into the powerful point producer many envision him becoming. However, Ritchie saw 33 games of action with the main roster last season and has shown he is physically capable of playing in the NHL. Whether his skill set has come further along, that may be a different discussion.

Ultimately, Ritchie is likely to have every chance to earn a regular spot with the club in 2016-17. Though a third-line role