Kraken Receive Emotional Boost With Tanev’s Return

The Seattle Kraken’s inaugural season did not go the way that many had planned, and the same could be said for forward Brandon Tanev, as the 30-year-old winger got off to a strong start. Over his 30 games, his 14:34 average time on ice (ATOI) was the second-most in his NHL career. He played as much as 19:01 and only once fewer than 10 minutes in a single game.

Brandon Tanev, Seattle Kraken
Brandon Tanev, Seattle Kraken (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

In those 30 games, he scored nine goals and 15 points with 13 penalty minutes (PIMs) and a plus-4 rating. When the season came to a close, he finished the year as one of eight Kraken with a positive plus/minus rating and was fourth on the team overall. Such a promising start came to an end once the injury bug reared its ugly head. 

Just a week before Christmas, Tanev suffered an ACL injury that sidelined him for the rest of the season. Stick with me here, I’m about to throw some stats your way. The team was 10-17-3 (.333 win percentage (W%)) from the start of the year through his Dec. 18 injury, and 17-32-3 (.327 W%) in the following 52 games. Interestingly, the team scored 84 goals in his 30 games, and just 132 in the remaining 52. Considering he only scored nine of those goals, this could just be a coincidence, but I feel the emotion that he brings to the ice had a direct correlation to the team’s on-ice product.

I’m going to take a look at what “Turbo” Tanev’s return will bring to the lineup and where he’ll slot in. In addition, I’m going to set some goals for him to achieve this season. With that all said, buckle up; it’s Turbo time.

Tanev Provides Emotional Leadership for Kraken

Tanev is returning to the ice at the perfect time. The Kraken added some firepower up front in the offseason, landed Shane Wright at fourth overall, and will see Matty Beniers’ first full NHL season. Despite expectations not being astronomically high, there is a lot of excitement surrounding the team and fanbase.

Before falling to injury, Tanev tallied 22 blocks in 30 games, leading all Kraken forwards. He also led the team to that point with 98 hits. Those are two sure-fire ways to provide energy for the team. Given that he was looking at roughly third-line minutes, it was an added bonus that his offensive production was also on the rise.

Listen to that fan reaction

Over a full season, he was projected to score 25 goals, 16 assists and 41 points; it would have been his first 20-goal and 40-point season. The Kraken may have had a few more wins last season if that were the case. Oftentimes, it gives the team’s top players a boost seeing the bottom six get on the scoreboard; such an emotional boost could’ve translated to more goals from the top two lines.

Considering the Kraken’s wing depth has increased over the past five months, he may be pushed into purely a third or fourth-line role, so his offensive production may take a hit. However, what he brings to the team on the ice, in the locker room, and to the fans at Climate Pledge Arena cannot be overstated. The way I see it, goals and points are just an added bonus to what he brings night in, and night out.

Related: Kraken Need New Emotional Leader With Tanev Out

Tanev also caught the eye of both players around the league, and in other sports due to his humorous headshot from last season. While that may not impact the on-ice result, it is a great thing for helping to build both the local and national fanbases.

Where Tanev Slots Into the Lineup

I have Tanev sliding into the third line alongside Jared McCann and Yanni Gourde. This is partially due to André Burakovsky and Oliver Bjorkstrand joining the team and pushing McCann deeper into the lineup, as well as Wright making the roster and taking that second-line center role. While it seems like I put this trio together almost by default, they actually should have some chemistry together entering the season.

Brandon Tanev Seattle Kraken
Brandon Tanev, Seattle Kraken (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Three of the four forwards Tanev spent the most ice time with last season will be on the Kraken again in 2022-23. Morgan Geekie spent the most time on ice with Tanev at 164:01 TOI. Next came Gourde with 134:01 TOI and then McCann with 99:31. This line could be a gritty one featuring three players who could find the back of the net. Additionally, I could see him receiving some secondary penalty-killing time, maybe even lined up with Gourde.

Related: Kraken 2022-23 Opening Night Forward Line Projections

I have Geekie slotted on the fourth line now, and I could see head coach Dave Hakstol moving Tanev down to the fourth line if needed. Whether it’s to shake things up, or give another player more opportunity, his positional versatility allows Hakstol that freedom. Tanev is one of those players that you know what you’re going to get from him every time he steps onto the ice; first line or fourth, he’ll find a way to succeed.

Tanev’s 2022-23 Season Goals

I’m not going to get too extreme on my season goals for Tanev. Given that he’ll likely be in the bottom six and may not see the same amount of ice time as he did last year, I’m going to keep this reasonable. He should be looking to score at least 15 goals and 30 points this season. If the point totals aren’t there, but he’s a plus player who spends a significant amount of time killing penalties, that’s still a win in my book.

Related: 2021-22 Kraken Report Cards: McCann, Tanev & Beniers

This is set to be an exciting season for the Kraken, and Tanev is going to be a big reason why. No matter where they slot him into the lineup, he should be in a good position to succeed and bring some stability to the team’s bottom six. It will be difficult to find someone in Seattle who’s upset to see No. 13 back on the ice.


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