The Finnish connection is playing a major role in the Carolina Hurricanes’ success.
Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen are the Carolina Hurricanes’ new shiny toys. The Blackhawks traded Teravainen, a former first-round pick, to the Hurricanes as part of the Bryan Bickell salary dump. Many thought Ron Francis reached when he selected Sebastian Aho in the second round; however, he is tied for the third highest points on the team. The Finnish youngsters have played the majority of the season together. Their eerily similar playing styles complement each other perfectly, which is why they are such a great success together.
Combined, the pair accounts for almost 17 percent of Carolina’s goals this season. Aho has potted 11 goals and 13 assists; while Teravainen has tallied 10 goals and 14 assists. Both are on pace for 43 points each. Teravainen is on track for a career year, besting his 35 point total with Chicago during the 2015-2016 season. On the other hand, Sebastian Aho is set to eclipse the point total of every Carolina Hurricane rookie since Jeff Skinner.
The duo grows and thrives together.
Teravainen and Aho have played over 500 minutes this season. During that stretch, they generated 94 scoring chances. Twenty-four resulted in a goal for a 25.5% rate. Lee Stempniak’s minutes with the Finns total more than any other Carolina Hurricane. For 279 minutes this season, Teravainen centered Stempniak and Aho. Teravainen is not a natural center but is thriving in the role. The line sports a 59.96 Corsi-for percentage (CF%). For comparison, the line of Stempniak, Rask, and Skinner generated a 58.56 CF%.
The pair also played with Jordan Staal and Elias Lindholm for a combined 195 minutes. The production per minute of each of these lines is in the chart below. Aho and Teravainen are far more productive, offensively and defensively, when centered by Jordan Staal. The “TSA” line played a total of 112 minutes together and notched a respectable six goals. The same line only allowed two goals against. The Finns produced more scoring chances when playing with Staal. However, with the recent success of McGinn/Staal/Lindholm, Canes fans probably will not see much more of the TSA line.
Check out some examples of the synergy between the two Finns.
This one is from the Hurricanes’ overtime win versus Boston on January 8th. Teravainen wins the puck battle and finds an open Aho in the slot. The rest is history.
This play is almost an exact mirror image from the one above. In this clip, Aho drives the net and finds an open Teravainen in the slot. Teravainen sends the puck flying past the Washington goaltender for his fourth goal of the season.
In this play, Aho leaves the puck at the blue line for Teravainen. Teravainen skates towards the net and creates a juicy rebound for Lee Stempniak. Stempniak buries it.
Again, here is Teravainen setting up an open Aho for his 11th goal of the season.
Aho and Teravainen play in such perfect harmony it is easy to forget the duo has only played 43 regular season games together. Maybe it was dumb luck or the genius of Ron Francis, but it is not often that two young countrymen arrive on the same team simultaneously. Going forward, each Finn’s success will be dependent on the other. For many years to come, Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen will continue to grow and flourish together in the NHL. It is a good time to be a Carolina Hurricanes fan.