There were sure to be a few breakout players on the Seattle Kraken this season, but one player, in particular, has made a big name for himself early on. Through the first nine games in Kraken history, Brandon Tanev leads the team with six goals. His next goal will match his goals total from last season, where he scored seven times in 32 games. If he keeps scoring at this pace, there is a good chance he’ll beat his career-high of 14 goals with the Winnipeg Jets in 2018-19.
Tanev Has Two Game-Winning Goals in Three Kraken Victories
Not only did Tanev score the game-winning goal in the Kraken’s first win in franchise history, but he also scored the winner in the team’s first win at Climate Pledge Arena. In fact, only one other player has scored a game-winning goal for Seattle this season (Haydn Fleury). Tanev is proving time and again that he can be trusted in crucial moments and come up with timely goals.
Only 18 players in the NHL have two game-winning goals this season, and nobody has more than two. With six goals on 20 shots, Tanev has an incredible shooting percentage of 30 percent, tied for 24th-best in the league. Despite his heavy-hitting play style, he is finding ways to consistently put the puck in the net as well.
Tanev is noticeable almost every shift he’s on the ice, whether that be creating quality scoring chances or finishing big hits. His hard work and never-ending pursuit of the puck, or opponent with the puck, makes him an especially impactful player. It’s no wonder Kraken fans are already so attached to him. Despite him not being named to Seattle’s official leadership group this season, there is no doubt that Tanev is one of the greatest leaders on the team. Don’t be surprised if he gets an “A” on his sweater sometime in the future.
Tanev Looking to Establish New Identity in Seattle
Tanev’s best season in the NHL came with the Winnipeg Jets in 2018-19, tallying 29 points (14 goals, 15 assists) in 80 games. The next season, his first with the Pittsburgh Penguins, he posted 25 points (11 goals, 14 assists) in 68 games. In his second and final season in Pittsburgh, Tanev produced at the highest rate of his career so far, with 16 points (seven goals, nine assists) in 32 games. After that, it was on to the Kraken. He has been on an upward trajectory the last three seasons, and with a new opportunity and incredible start in Seattle, it is certainly possible he continues the trend.
He has shown he has the skill set to perform at this level, so it will be up to Tanev to continue playing with confidence and helping the Kraken win games. His unique play style is very valuable to the Kraken, who are trying to establish themselves as a never-quit, hard forechecking team that makes it hard for opposing teams to play well, or at least comfortably, against them. Tanev almost perfectly embodies this vision and will quickly become a face of the franchise if he continues playing his style of high-caliber power forward hockey.
Tanev looks to match his goals total from last season when the Kraken visit the Edmonton Oilers on Monday at 6:30 p.m. PT. If Seattle wins, they will move into a tie with the Anaheim Ducks for fourth place in the Pacific Division. Look for Tanev to continue giving his all on the ice and helping lead the Kraken to a turnaround after the team’s rocky start to the season.
Tom Pepper is a diehard Seattle Kraken fan creating daily content at The Hockey Writers (THW). He joined THW in June 2020, initially working as a Buffalo Sabres journalist during the 2020-21 season. He also spent time as a FanSided site expert and covered his childhood team, the St. Louis Blues. In June 2021, he devoted himself to the Kraken (pre-expansion draft) and started writing from a fan perspective at THW. In addition to writing, he hosts the THW What’s Kraken show on iHeartRadio. Outside of THW, he hosts his own NHL podcast (The Tom Pepper Show) every weekday. Follow him on Twitter at @TomPepper.