Pens Sign Winger as NHL Free Agency Opens

UPDATED with Rutherford reaction-27-year-old Brandon Tanev gets 6 year contract

Jeff Hathhorn
July 01, 2019 - 12:20 pm

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

PITTSBURGH (93.7 the Fan) – It’s the cash-strapped Pens that are one of the first to make a move as NHL free agency began at noon on Monday.  Penguins sign 27-year-old left-winger Brandon Tanev for six years at 3.5 million a year.

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“We’re really happy about it,” said general manager Jim Rutherford.  “Everybody in the organization thinks very highly of him.  He’s a really good skater, good penalty killer.  He’s a guy that, when he’s playing, he makes our team harder to play against.

The Toronto native spent his first four NHL seasons with the Winnipeg Jets totaling 24 goals and 27 assists in 195 games.  Tanev is 6’, a penalty killer (5 shorthanded goals in the last 2 seasons) and adept at blocking shots, his 81 last season was third among NHL forwards.  Tanev was also third in the entire league with 278 hits.

“He’s got the good speed,” Rutherford said.  “He gets chances on the PK to score.  The fact that we feel he can move up and down the lineup a little bit, hard to play against 5 on 5, good team guy.  Everybody spoke very highly of him.”

His defensive game was so good last year he received a vote for the Selke Trophy, going to the best two-way forward in the game. 

But why give six years for a player who wasn’t even drafted?

“It’s the way things work on July 1, you either give the player close to what he wants or you don’t get the player,” Rutherford said.  “We felt so strongly about Tanev we were willing to go as far as we had to go to make sure we got ‘em.  It’s what you have to do to get the player.”

Rutherford said he likes how Tanev takes care of himself, that he’s still young and how he’s had to work hard to get to this point. 

The Hall of Fame GM believes Tanev is part of a change that will bring new energy and new excitement to their team.

“As long as we are healthy and play the way we are capable, we are a good team.  We will contend for the Cup.”

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