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Ex-Penguins are powering the Seattle Kraken

Through 17 games, Tanev and McCann have combined for over a quarter of Seattle’s team goal total.

Colorado Avalanche v Seattle Kraken
Brandon Tanev celebrates his goal against the Colorado Avalanche with Kraken teammate Jared McCann on Nov. 19, 2021.
Photo by Christopher Mast/NHLI via Getty Images

The expansion-year Seattle Kraken (4-12-1 for nine points through their first 17 contests) don’t look great. The same cannot be said for their second and third leading scorers, former Penguins Brandon Tanev (7-2—9) and Jared McCann (6-4—10). They trail only former Islander Jordan Eberle for the team lead in goals.

The Penguins dealt McCann to the Maple Leafs just prior to Seattle’s start, then lost Tanev in the expansion draft itself. In return for McCann, they received left winger Filip Hallander (who has recorded 2-2—4 and a minus-4 rating in 13 games with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins) and a seventh-round 2023 draft pick. In return for Tanev, they received a meme.

McCann ($2.94mil) and Tanev ($3.5mil) combine for just under eight percent of the Kraken’s cap space— while providing over 27% of their offense through the first 17 games of the 2021-22 season.

The two are being put in good positions. McCann is averaging a career-high 15:25 minutes per game as the Kraken’s second-tier center, and was for a brief stretch centering their top line; Tanev is playing on the wing of Yanni Gourde, who is fresh out of racking up 36 points in a shortened 2020-21 campaign with the Lightning.

Accordingly, these former Penguins are two of just three Seattle skaters to have topped five goals through this opening stretch. McCann has only skated in 12 contests, but that hasn't stopped him from racking up six goals and 10 points.

After Pittsburgh dumped McCann, analysts expected the Kraken to select either Jason Zucker, Zach Aston-Reese or Brandon Tanev from the Penguins’ list of unprotected players exposed to the 2021 expansion draft. Zucker has scored three goals in 17 games, while Aston-Reese has yet to hit twine in 15 contests.

Even though it hasn’t helped them climb from the bottom of the Pacific Division, it looks like the Kraken made the right choice by choosing Tanev during the expansion draft. Will the Penguins’ choice to give away McCann for a minimal return be one they’ll come to regret as they try to savor the last stretch of the Crosby/Malkin/Letang era?