Brandon Tanev took a huge step forward in his second NHL season with improvements in nearly every statistical category. This career year couldn’t come at a better time for Tanev who is an RFA with arbitration rights this summer. This edition of the Pilot’s Logbook will look at how Tanev performed in his first full season in the NHL and what the future may hold for the speedy winger.
#13 – LEFT WING
6’0″ / 180 lbs / Age: 26
Current Contract Status: RFA Arbitration Elligible
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PLAYER’S SEASON IN REVIEW
Tanev got his first taste of NHL hockey in 2015-16 when the Winnipeg Jets signed him after his senior season at Providence College. After finishing college hockey Tanev made his way to Manitoba and played most of the 2016-17 season with the Jets.
As an overage rookie, Tanev didn’t impress with his offensive game. His first season was littered with turnovers and it seemed as though he was scared of having the puck on his stick. The common diagnosis was that Tanev was ‘allergic’ to the puck. In 51 games Tanev scored 2 goals and 2 assists for 4 points. Even with such little offence, the Jets liked what they saw and signed him to a one year deal last summer.
The Jets were basically treating the one year contract as a tryout for Tanev, who needed to show more skill if he was going to be stay in the NHL. Tanev began the year with a great start as he scored in the second game of the season.
When looking at the rest of the season, his production greatly increased across the board. He posted new career highs in goals, assists, +/-, shots, hits, blocks, takeaways and ice-time. Tanev seemed to be a transformed player as he looked comfortable with the puck and was making strong plays in the offensive zone.
This increased offence was highlighted by an astounding hat-trick against the Boston Bruins on March 27. Tanev lit up the Bruins for three goals in one night after scoring only two goals in his entire previous season. It was a remarkable feat for a player who had only scored six career goals until that point.
It apparently hit over 107db inside BellMTS Place as Brandon Tanev nearly doubles his season goal total with a ?✨ tonight. pic.twitter.com/9FdSTOf9QO
— Darrin Bauming (@DarrinBauming) March 28, 2018
Even though Tanev isn’t the most skilled player, he does a few other things quite well. His biggest asset is his speed which makes him tenacious on the fore-check. This speed also helps him draw penalties by out-skating the opposition and winning puck battles.
Whether or not Tanev is a good penalty killer is up for debate, as he seems to allow more dangerous chances than some of the other players. What cannot be argued is the fact that Tanev led the Jets in shorthanded goals by scoring three times throughout the year while down a man.
The last thing Tanev does well is play defence. He is a very energetic player and will go to great lengths to block shots. This effort and hustle helps close time and space for the opposition because he never gives up on the play.
The combo of Tanev-Lowry-Copp was elite this past season in regards to their shots and corsi against. They were continually matched up against the other teams best lines and thrived in the tough environment. Of the 214 lines across the league that played more than 100 minutes together, the ‘TLC’ line was fifth overall in CF% at 60.56% and second in CA/60 at 33.93.
If there was anything more surprising than the hat-trick of Tanev late in the season, it was the scoring outburst in the playoffs. Tanev didn’t score in his first four playoff games, but found his stride in the series clinching game against the Wild.
Tanev scored to help finish off the Wild and then followed that up with scoring the series opening goal against the Predators. Tanev wasn’t done there as he scored in the next two games as well to complete a four game goal streak. This scoring outburst put Tanev fifth on the team in playoff goals.
Meet Brandon Tanev, the grocery store clerk in high school because he was too small to play hockey, who is now one of the #nhljets' most unlikely playoff heroes: https://t.co/bD0SpHthJS #TSN pic.twitter.com/odVM5VSJN1
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) May 3, 2018
Tanev’s future looked murky at the start of the season after signing a one year extension last summer. With his strong regular season and recent playoff surge he has certainly earned another contract from the Jets. Tanev will most likely sign a modest 2-3 year deal around the $1-1.5 million mark and will continue to be a valuable contributor in the bottom six.