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2020-21 Season in Review: Brandon Tanev

The man who puts the turbo into the buzzsaw

Pittsburgh Penguins v New York Islanders - Game Four Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images


Player: Brandon Tanev

Born: Dec. 31, 1991 (29 years old)

Height: 6’ 0”

Weight: 180 pounds

Birthplace: Toronto, Ontario

Shoots: Left

Draft: Undrafted

2020-21 Statistics: 32 games played — 7 goals, 9 assists, 16 points

Contract Status: Tanev just completed the second year of a six-year contract. The Penguins signed Tanev to a 6-year, $21M contract with an AAV of $3.5M. The Penguins winger is signed through the end of the 2024-25 season.


2019-20 Pensburgh Season Review (64% B, 24%A)


Tanev scored one goal in the Penguins’ six-game first round series loss to the Islanders. His goal game at a crucial time, being the game-winning goal in Game 3 of the series to give the team a 2-1 lead, but the Islanders won the next three games and the series after that.

Monthly splits

via Yahoo!

Regular season 5v5 advanced stats

Data via Natural Stat Trick

Corsi For%: 47.8%
Goals For%: 60.0%
xGF%: 52.5
Scoring Chance %: 49.6%
High Danger Scoring Chance%: 53.4%
5v5 on-ice shooting%: 10.84%
On-ice save%: 93.02%

Charts, graphs and takeaways

When the Penguins initially signed Brandon Tanev, the immediate thought from many people, myself included was “what in the world is going on?”, particularly surrounding the 6-year contract.

After this past season, I will happily admit I was wrong about him. The contract still isn’t good, but it is what it is.

In terms of what Tanev brought to the Penguins this season, analytically, it was his best in the past three years.

With Tanev, the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. When he was on the ice, shots were hard to come by for the opponent, but the Penguins also weren’t generating much of their own while he was on the ice, with tracks with his sub-50% Corsi For number on the season.

Tanev’s production definitely was an increase in his second year with the Penguins. He ended his first year with the team on a low note, particularly when it came to scoring, but that seemed to round into form as he settled into his own.

The most disappointing thing about Tanev’s season, for me, wasn’t anything he did, but the fact that the injury bug hit him during his highest production point of the season.

Tanev missed nearly six weeks, coming back into lineup for the postseason.

Prior to his injury, Tanev had a 9-game stretch where he scored 2 goals and pitched in with 7 assists for a point-per-game pace. It was by far his best stretch as a Penguin, which made it all the more frustrating to see him have to leave the lineup for a significant amount of time.

Offensive highlights

Not exactly known for being an offensive prowess, Tanev did show a flash of skill in the Islanders series, scoring the game-winning goal mentioned above.

Tanev’s goal propelled the Penguins to a series lead at that point, but that would sadly be the last win of the season for the team.

Bottom line

Tanev has settled into a prototypical role as a good 3rd line winger for the Penguins. Is his contract a problem? A little bit.

Do we still want the guy out there throwing hits....

....and making sure people don’t improperly stake their claim for being the Sheriff?


Can Tanev’s offense improve? Probably not. But with that said, what we saw from him during that 9-game stretch is a great run of play for a 3rd line winger. If that kind of production, not even at a point-per-game clip can happen two or three times in a season? You’ll take it.

The big question

Is there a chance the Seattle Kraken could be interested in Brandon Tanev? Personally, I would say....maybe. It doesn’t seem likely, given the contract status and the forward-thinking analytics team the NHL’s newest franchise has put together, but never say never. I don’t foresee the Penguins protecting Tanev in the expansion draft, but again, never say never.

You’ve seen the data— now it’s time for your input!


How would you grade Brandon Tanev’s 2020-21 season?

This poll is closed

  • 33%
    (246 votes)
  • 61%
    (449 votes)
  • 5%
    (39 votes)
  • 0%
    (2 votes)
  • 0%
    (0 votes)
736 votes total Vote Now