Brandon Tanev may now be a Seattle Kraken, but the legacy of his tenure as a Pittsburgh Penguin lives on.
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 walking behind the photographer; understandably, this sighting caught Tanev off guard.
The result of the haunting: a meme-able face that Kasperi Kapanen paid tribute to in his photo for the 2021-22 Penguins roster.
September 22, 2021
Tanev widened his eyes even further— and added a knowing smirk— in his first photo with the brand-new expansion Seattle Kraken.
The Evolution of Brandon Tanev#SeaKraken pic.twitter.com/Q2SfOxbujQ— Kraken Canada (@KrakenCanada) October 1, 2021
Now, this expression of ghostly surprise has spread outside of the NHL.
In the headshots for the upcoming 2021-22 campaign of the USHL’s Chicago Steel, USA Hockey’s elite junior players raised eyebrows to hairlines and stared down the camera in yet another tribute to Tanev.
Chicago Steel - BIG Brandon Tanev fans@SeattleKraken pic.twitter.com/0NpDZUfE6M— Chicago Steel (@ChicagoSteel) September 30, 2021
Tanev spent two seasons in Pittsburgh after beginning his NHL career with four seasons in Winnipeg. In 2020-21, he scored seven times and recorded 16 points in the regular season before tallying one goal to secure the Penguins’ Round 1, Game 3 win against the Islanders on May 20.
Either the poltergeist that haunted Tanev is spreading through the hockey leagues of North America, or Tanev’s charismatic presence is probably going to make him a poster child for the new Seattle franchise— as well as a locker room presence the Penguins will keenly miss as the team builds up to the season start.