Insight, News, and Opinion by Nick Abramo
  • November 30, 2021
The Seattle Kraken’s Brandon Tanev Works Like A Dog And Is Quickly Becoming A Fan Favorite

Brandon Tanev is showing just how much of a firecracker hockey player he is and he’s fast becoming a Seattle Kraken fan favorite.

And the dude who came over from the Pittsburgh Penguins in the expansion draft is surprising everyone.

On Friday, after Seattle’s first win as an NHL franchise, I planned about writing a feature on him. Other things got in the way, but I held the idea and thought about possibly doing something in a few days.

At first, this story was not going to get too much into Tanev’s scoring ability because it’s all the other stuff he has been doing since Day 1 in Seattle that is catching people’s attention. The story motif, ahem, has changed just a bit since he barreled in on the Columbus Blue Jackets defense and scored a thing of beauty, the Kraken’s only goal in a 2-1 loss Saturday.

Man oh man, he is on fire.

But let’s start with some of his other admirable hockey and off-ice traits.

First of all, he’s not hard to spot:

>> The guy with the flow.
>> The guy with the beady eyes in the team’s promotional photo.
>> The only guy on the team who only pulls one side of his jersey down below the top of his pants.
>> One of the many guys who buzzes around in the other team’s zone like a blood hound.
>> The guy who darts quickly with his lateral movements and has a super quick first step to get to opponents before they know he’s coming.
>> One of the many guys who gets physical when he has to, especially when there’s a 50-50 chance to get the puck.

All of that stuff has been crying out to fans: “This is Brandon Tanev!!! I hustle.”

But while doing all of that stuff in the preseason, little did the fans know (and can I get a big YIKERS here), this guy can score!!! Check it out from Saturday:

Still shot: Brandon Tanev finishes a chance after barreling
through the Columbus Blue Jackets defense on Saturday.

And that goal came after he scored twice on Thursday against the Nashville Predators, one on a backhand pass from Alex Wennberg and the other an empty-netter.

It makes you wonder. Will he keep this hot streak up? He is the team’s leading goal scorer with three. And his production for a third-liner (or any third-liner) has been more than a welcome asset for the franchise.

The evolution of Brandon Tanev’s photo ops since breaking into the NHL
in 2015 with Winnipeg. (Image credit: Pensburgh.com)

And those photos? Here’s what Pensburgh.com says about his look in the most recent ones: “The 29-year-old winger told DK Pittsburgh Sports in February that the wide-eyed expression staring out from his 2020-21 roster photo had, in fact, been made in reaction to spotting a ghost who was walking behind the photographer; understandably, this sighting caught Tanev off guard.”

But back to hockey, if you want to see what Tanev was like in college and you’ve got six minutes to spare, take a look below at this Providence College highlight reel from 2015-16. You won’t be disappointed. He was a firecracker then, too.

In Saturday’s postgame interview, what Tanev said should endear him to fans even more. You can tell by his comments that, first and foremost, he’s a team player.

“(I’m going to do) anything the team needs, whether it’s blocking a shot, making big hit or just playing simple,” he said. “I think it’s moments in the game where you know where you are on the ice and what you need to do. That’s what I want to bring every night.”

Tanev also talked about the team’s attitude after the OT loss: “Obviously it’s not the result we wanted. You come into a tough building to play a good team and these are important points on the line. You can take some good stuff away from that game, but at the end of the day we want to come out here and get as many points as we can. We walked out of here with a point, which we’re OK with. We just gotta continue to play our game. Stay confident and trust one another.”

Tanev, a lefty who is from Toronto, is 6 feet, 181 pounds. His brother, Christopher, is a defenseman for the Calgary Flames who has been in the NHL since 2010 and also has a similar hairstyle.

Brandon has compiled 46 goals and 50 assists in 298 NHL games. His best season points-wise was in 2018-19, when he scored 14 goals and 15 assists in 80 games for the Winnipeg Jets.

Seattle’s Brandon Tanev.

Against Columbus, Tanev’s goal gave Seattle 1-0 lead in the second period. Eric Robinson’s goal for the Blue Jackets tied it at 10:07 of the third period. Patrik Laine scored the game winner 2:16 into OT.

Oh, and before we move on to wrapping up Saturday’s game below, here’s one more very nice tidbit video. Tanev scored the winning goal to win the NCAA championship for Providence, 4-3 over Boston University in 2015. He does it with his quickness off a face-off. Take a look:

The Team The Kraken Took To OT Beat Arizona 8-2

It pained Kraken coach Dave Hakstol to see his team unable to hold the lead.

“We gave up too much off the rush,” he said. “Those were the most dangerous opportunities. and most of those were in the second half of the game. (On the OT goal), we got tired on that one. We tried to get a guy off the ice and that turned into the outnumbered rush against.”

But Hakstol is far from down in the dumps. After all, his team just took the Blue Jackets — a team that opened its season Thursday with an 8-2 victory over the Arizona Coyotes — deep into overtime.

“We had a great win the other night (Seattle’s first NHL victory, 4-3 over Nashville),” he continued. “It wasn’t perfect in the third period. It’s disappointing having a lead (Saturday) going into the third period. You want to push and extend that lead and close out the game. We didn’t do that tonight.

“What stands out is one-goal hockey games. Every night, it’s close and competitive and three games, three one-goal games with one in overtime. We’ll be comfortable and we’ll be playing in a lot of them.”

Also, a Kraken player deserving mention in every game so far is goalie Philipp Grubauer. He had another whale of an outing with 21 saves.

Video highlights from Columbus’ 2-1 victory over Seattle on Saturday are below.

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