Blackhawks Player Spotlight: Tanner Kero

#67 Tanner Kero

Height: 5’11″
Birthdate: July 24, 1992 (Age 23)
Hometown: Hancock, MI
Position: Center
Shoots: Left

Center of Attention

Last season, the Chicago Blackhawks signed undrafted center Tanner Kero out of Michigan Tech. Kero spent four seasons with the Huskies where he accrued 55 goals, 56 assists and 111 points. He even finished his career at the Division I school as a Hobey Baker Finalist, WCHA’s Player of the Year, and Outstanding Student Athlete of the Year in 2014-15. Yet, he went undrafted because of his smaller stature. That did not stop the Blackhawks from taking notice. The team has had a good deal of success with their smaller forwards, with Patrick Kane and Artemi Panarin being the best examples.

Kero has excellent offensive instincts and reads the game quite well, both attributes give him a solid foundation to be a consistent scorer at the NHL level. This week, he is going to get the chance to test that foundation, as he was recently called up for the Blackhawks upcoming road trip. Kero made an impact early with his first few games in Rockford at the end of the season last year, and again in the prospect camp in Sweden, as well as training camp. He proved himself to be an offensively minded center, who was also responsible with the puck in his own end. Two qualities that coach Joel Quenneville values heavily.

Fitting In

While it is uncertain where Kero will start in the line up, it is probable he will take up the slot vacated by Vince Hinostroza, who was sent back to Rockford. Hinostroza had been centering the third line with Teuvo Teravainen and Ryan Garbutt on the wings.  However, it is also possible that Teravainen will take up the center position, and allow Kero to take on less responsibility as he gets his feet wet in the NHL. For the Blackhawks, the center position is especially difficult to acclimate to, as coach Q has very high demands for the position that require a lot of multi-tasking on the part of the player.  In fact, many veterans have struggled to find a rhythm centering a line for the Hawks.

In seven games, Kero has recorded 6 goals, 2 assists and is a +7 with the Rockford Icehogs this season, earning him the CCM/AHL player of the week last week. He currently ranks third in scoring for all forwards in the AHL, and has been nearly a point per game player since he arrived late last season in Rockford.