It can be easy to get lost in the crowd when it comes to talking about the star power that comes with the Winnipeg Jets. So many high draft picks turned superstars, it’s hard to remember the fact that maybe their greatest asset is their depth.
Talking about Mark Scheifele and Patrik Laine can be fun, and as some of the best players in the league, the easy thing to do. They aren’t the only reasons Winnipeg remains one of the better teams in the league, and a favorite to represent the Western Conference in the Stanley Cup Final.
Undrafted out of Providence College, Brandon Tanev had carved out a nice role for himself on the Jets’ bottom-six as a physical player but this year he has taken a nice step forward and has adding goal scoring to his repertoire.
With his 11th goal of the season against the Nashville Predators Thursday night, Tanev continues to push past his former career high of just eight tallies.
Progression at each level
Tanev, 27, has shown natural progression no matter what level of hockey he has played. He scored 25 of his 35 career college goals during the last two years at Providence and has shown a similar path in the NHL.
His final season in college saw him score the game-winning goal against a Jack Eichel-led Boston University that gave Providence their first ever National Championship.
After scoring just 10 goals in his first 125 games, Tanev has 11 in 47 contests this season, while continuing his usual physical self.
On a team loaded with goal scorers, Tanev finds himself fourth on the team in scoring rate (G/60) and second in both scoring chances per 60 minutes (iSCF/60) and high danger chances per 60 minutes (iHDCF/60).
Grit mixed with a scorer's touch
Among all forwards with at least 500 minutes at 5v5, only two players threw hits at a higher rate than Tanev. On top of that, of all players in the top-20 in the same category, only four players have scored at a higher rate than Tanev.
At a minute-to-minute rate, Tanev has emerged as one of the better power forwards in the league. Only Alexander Ovechkin and Blake Coleman have more points-per-60 minutes (P/60) than Tanev and both play more prominent roles on their respective rosters.
With Tanev, among others, from the bottom-six scoring, going along with one of the best top-six, defensive groups, and goaltending tandems, it’s not hard to see why the Jets’ are one of the best teams in the league.
With a breakout season as a pending unrestricted free agent, Tanev's situation is an interesting one to follow. As a UFA, he could be in line for a big pay increase, especially if he can find his way to the 20-goal plateau.
The Jets have several big name forwards due new contracts as restricted free agents, such as Laine and Kyle Connor, so Tanev's next deal could very well come from elsewhere.
What has been your impressions of Tanev this season? Let us know what you think in the comment section below!