This offseason, Penguins General Manager Jim Rutherford set out to get the team back to the identity of the 2016 and 2017 Stanley Cup winners.
The Penguins needed to add more speed, and they needed to get back to being "harder to play against."
Enter Brandon Tanev for 3.5 million dollars a season.
Our friend Rob Rossi of The Athletic was on my show last week and said, “It’s hard to see the Penguins going far in this postseason without Tanev becoming like a cult hero here. Either by scoring a big goal, or really, driving somebody nuts.”
I couldn’t agree more.
Brandon Tanev is built for playoff hockey. His nickname is turbo, and I’d suggest watching him on his first shift of every hockey game. The guy is shot out of a cannon. He can flat fly, and he’s fourth in the NHL in hits with 244.
That puts him in the company of guys like Matt Martin and William Carrier who have five and seven goals, respectively.
Brandon Tanev has 11. All 11 have come at even strength or shorthanded.
Tanev is grit personified, but he can chip in offensively. His possession numbers are also quality. He starts 62 percent of his shifts in the defensive zone, yet has a Corsi For percentage of 50.3.
The Penguins fourth(?) line of Zach Aston-Reese, Teddy Blueger, and Brandon Tanev has the potential to be a real shut-down line for the Penguins.
Tanev has a chance to be the Penguins ultimate X-factor.