Coming off a disheartening first round loss to the St. Louis Blues, Brandon Tanev heads into the summer of 2019 unlikely to return to the team that signed him out of the NCAA. That means the 27-year-old will be looking for a new place to call home for what is likely the remainder of his prime years.
Some of the same arguments for Micheal Ferland also apply to the reasoning about why Brandon Tanev would be a good fit in the Bay Area. However, while Ferland has been given opportunities to play with elite talent. Tanev hasn’t really seen much ice-time with high-end players.
According to Corsica.Hockey’s line tool Brandon Tanev spent a majority of his time at 5v5 last season with the likes of Adam Lowry, Andrew Copp, Bryan Little, and Mathieu Perreault. Despite the lack of surrounding talent Brandon Tanev ended the season with 29 total points, with 14 of them being goals.
Not only was he given lesser talent to work with but he also got entrusted with the brunt of the defensive responsibilities at forward. He started outside the offensive zone over 75% of the time, while still maintaining 48.77 CF% and a 50.85 GF%, per Corsica.Hockey.
For a designated checker this left winger has some underappreciated offensive skill. 11 of his 15 assists are primary, which means that a lot of the offensive production when the goals were scored stemmed through Tanev’s stick. Imagine what the possibilities for Tanev are if he was given extended time with the likes of Joe Thornton, Tomas Hertl, Joe Pavelski, or Logan Couture at center.
The Jets are a very deep team but didn’t really have role available within their top 6 for a player like Tanev to showcase what he could potentially do with more offensive zone time. But the Sharks aren’t afraid to mix up the lineups and this could result in the NCAA champion skating with some elite players.
His offensive upside isn’t the only thing that makes Brandon Tanev an interesting target for the Sharks in free agency. The Ontario native is a bona-fide 200-foot-player. He makes his presence known in all 3 zones of the ice. He ranked 3rd overall in the NHL with 278 hits in 80 games played, per naturalstattrick.
Tanev is extremely disciplined on his skates and gives opponents headaches with his relentless checking ability. He only got pinned with 12 total penalties, meanwhile he drew 27 calls during in primarily a defensive role. This ratio is very impressive for a player who’s playing without the puck a lot. If the Sharks could find out a way to capitalize on these power play opportunities Tanev’s value can go beyond the usual point totals.
EvolvingWild’s contract projection tool has his projected cap hit at roughly 4 x 3 AAV. If these figures are any indicator of how the league values Tanev, the Sharks would be smart to lock down the checking forward for a longish term deal. At 27 and with only 195 professional regular season games under his belt, it wouldn’t be too far-fetched to sign the former Friar knowing his body hasn’t had to experience many regular season campaigns.
The reality of the situation is that none of these players are even close to as effective as Erik Karlsson. Sharks General Manager Doug Wilson pulled out all the stops to get EK65 in the Bay Area for at least one Stanley Cup run. Now he’s faced with a long list of expiring contracts and limited options when it comes to improving this team on the open market.
However there are still a few quality names out there that could bolster Team Teal’s depth and potentially keep them within shooting distance of Stanley Cup relevance. Nevertheless it seems like it will be a long month of June for members of Sharks territory.