Penguins Sign Tanev to 6-Year Deal

The Pittsburgh Penguins have signed winger Brandon Tanev to a six-year deal with an average annual value of $3.5 million. Tanev played his entire career with the Winnipeg Jets before joining the Penguins.

Who is Tanev?

Throughout his career, the 27-year-old Tanev has been a bottom-six forward in the Jets lineup. In 195 games across four seasons, he has totals of 24 goals and 51 points while averaging 12:44 of ice time per game. The 2018-19 campaign was a career season for him, posting career highs of 14 goals and 29 points while skating a career-best 14:07 per game.

He’s also been safe with the puck, with at least an even turnover margin in each of his four seasons. All are strong numbers for the former undrafted free agent whom the Jets signed in March 2016.

Penguins Add Depth Forward

Since their 2018-19 season ended, Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford has been doing everything he can to create cap space. He did so by shipping out Phil Kessel and Olli Maatta, bringing in Alex Galchenyuk and Dominik Kahun in the process. Both players carry cheaper cap hits than the players they were acquired for. Freeing up said cap space has allowed the Penguins to address a problematic void: depth scoring. While they have Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Jake Guentzel, Kessel was their only other forward to score more than 40 points last season, and he has since departed. 

Brandon Tanev Jets
Winnipeg Jets left wing Brandon Tanev (Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports)

Therefore, it makes sense for the Penguins to add a bottom-six forward like Tanev to their roster. His 29 points would have been eighth on the team last season, and considering he has improved every season in the league, he could be a good pick up for the perennial Stanley Cup contender if he can develop untouched potential. He’ll also be a regular presence on the Penguins’ penalty kill, averaging 2:12 of shorthanded time per game in 2018-19. 

How Does the Signing Impact Penguins’ Salary Cap?

As aforementioned, the Penguins had to make two trades just to create the space to sign Tanev. Taking his $3.5 million cap hit into account, the Penguins are left with around $1.5 million in cap space and 21 players under contract on their NHL roster. They still have to sign restricted free agents Teddy Blueger and Zach Aston-Reese, both bottom-six forwards themselves, and defenseman Marcus Pettersson. Considering Pettersson’s strong play, it’s safe to assume the Penguins will make another trade to further free up cap space. Stay tuned to The Hockey Writers for the latest free agency news.