Chicago has been patient with its 2012 first-round pick, allowing Teravainen, 20, to shine at lower levels before considering him for a spot on the big club. With 35 assists in 49 games last year in the Finnish league, the center showed off the playmaking skills that will make him a good complement to the Blackhawks' wingers.
St. Louis's collapse last spring was ugly: six straight losses to end the regular season and a blown 2--0 first-round series lead against Chicago. The success-without-Cups syndrome—in three years Hitchcock hasn't taken the Blues past round 2—can be a killer.
After a slow start last year, including a brief demotion to the minors, the 23-year-old quietly became a mainstay on Colorado's blue line. He scored 13 goals as his ice time and confidence with the puck increased. Look for the slick-passing Barrie to do even better this season.
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BRACE HEMMELGARN/USA TODAY SPORTS (GRANLUND)
IN THE CREASE
BY PIERRE MCGUIRE
The most underrated aspect of the Avalanche is their defense, which is physical and full of promise. Finally healthy, blueliner Erik Johnson, the No. 1 pick in 2006, was one of the most improved players in the NHL in '13--14.... Two of the Wild's young forwards, Charlie Coyle and MIKAEL GRANLUND, who broke out with 33 assists last year, will help take some offensive pressure off Zach Parise and newly acquired Thomas Vanek.... New Predators coach Peter Laviolette wants to play aggressively on offense, which will help Nashville spend less time in its own zone and cut down on its goals against (242, second worst in the West).