Teuvo Teravainen: 2020-21 By the Numbers
- Age: 26
- NHL Seasons: 8
- Scoring: 5 goals, 10 assists, 15 points in 21 games
- Advanced statistics: 56.3 CF%, 57.0 SCF%, 54.4 xG%, 63.0 GF%
- Contract status: Signed through 2023-24, $5.4 million AAV
The playmaking winger has always been a bit of a rarity in the NHL. Wingers are usually paid to put the puck in the net, to the expense of almost anything else. But the Hurricanes have always had pretty consistent success with playmaking wingers, dating back to the days of Cory Stillman and Ray Whitney, and that lineage traces right through to the player who might be the prototypical playmaking winger in today’s NHL.
There aren’t many players anywhere in the league to whom you can compare Teuvo Teravainen’s impact on the Hurricanes. When Teravainen is out of the lineup, everyone else is thrown off kilter.
At no time was that imbalance more obvious in Teravainen’s five seasons in Carolina than this past season. Caught up in the Canes’ Covid-19 shutdown soon after the start of the season, Teravainen missed three games while quarantining. Once he returned, he played less than a month before suffering a concussion that cost him all but eight games of the remainder of the season.
While the Hurricanes generally performed well without Teravainen, at least on the score sheet, they aren’t the same team without him. Sebastian Aho’s usage chart at HockeyViz tells the story: he and Teravainen were joined at the hip when both were in the lineup, but Aho’s wings became revolving doors when Teravainen was out.
Teravainen is a winger who plays in many ways like a center. He’s not a drive-the-net presence, but he is a wizard at puck control, freeing up his linemates to get creative. The TSA line works so well in large part because of the T component, and it’s safe to say that Andrei Svechnikov in particular relies strongly on Teravainen’s craftiness to set him up. It’s no coincidence that Svechnikov’s performance regression came in a season where Teravainen missed more than half the games, more than he’s missed in any season since becoming a full-time NHL player in 2015.
And as penalty-killers go, Teravainen is as good as they come. He and Aho - two top-tier offensive talents - being used to kill penalties might seem a little out of character, since those duties are often left to third- and fourth-line penalty kill specialists. But the Hurricanes have one of the most dangerous and aggressive penalty kills in the NHL in large part because any chance coming out of the zone has the potential to be a set-’em-up, knock-’em-down scoring chance orchestrated by two players who understand each others’ tendencies innately.
Teravainen is never going to be a spotlight-stealing player, but in many ways he serves the same purpose for the Hurricanes’ forwards that Jaccob Slavin does for the defensemen. He’s a cornerstone of the Hurricanes’ system, signed to a below-market-value deal for the next three seasons. Others may get the attention, but Teravainen is a big part of getting them there in the first place.
How would you grade Teuvo Teravainen’s 2020-21 season?
This poll is closed
A - outstanding performance
B - above average performance
C - average performance
D - below average performance
F - significantly below average performance