Canucks Army Year in Review: Christopher Tanev

Though it was difficult to notice amid the Vancouver Canucks struggles as a team, Chris Tanev really solidified himself as a bonified top pairing defender for this franchise. His influence on the young Ben Hutton, and being able to play well despite playing with players like Alex Biega, Andrey Pedan and Matt Bartkowski proves he deserves the respect he is given. This was magnified even more so with the loss of Alexander Edler for a large chunk of the season. Let’s dive in.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

These Canucks have always lacked a confident force on the backend. Players like Keith Ballard, Christian Ehrhoff and Kevin Bieksa have come and gone, but they were always inconsistent players that you couldn’t rely on. Tanev, on the other hand, is the embodiment of calm, cool and collected consistency. I’m not saying he doesn’t make mistakes, it’s just that he plays smart hockey and minimizes them.

Plus, he’s just such an exciting interview.

His shot has evolved quite a bit through the years as well, as it has become another item in his repertoire from the slot as shown in his first goal of the season where he sniped one on the net and showed it off. He isn’t afraid to use it anymore, and he proved that on a few occasions this year.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Hero Chart

Dashboard 1

Crunching Numbers


Screen Shot 2016-04-23 at 10.01.54 AM

Tanev’s value has never been measured in points. Such is the plight of the transitional defenceman, appreciated more for his ability to suppress goals, rather than score them. Of interest to me was the 42 shots, which represent the lowest total Tanev has ever accumulated in a full season as a Canuck.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below


Screen Shot 2016-04-23 at 10.04.31 AM

Generally speaking, when we think of stay-at-home defenceman, we’re talking about the Rob Scuderi’s of the league – players wholly incapable of getting out of their zone. Tanev is in a class of his own where this type of defenceman is concerned. Though he was just over half a percent away from cracking the black by Corsi for, the Canucks fared considerably better with him on the ice, than off. Unsurprisingly, Tanev does this by suppressing shot attempts at the best rate (50.7 CA60) of any Canucks defender.


Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Screen Shot 2016-04-23 at 10.12.25 AM

The goal-based data is no friend of Tanev’s. Quite the opposite. The -4.4% GF%Rel indicates the Canucks fared much better without Tanev on the ice this season. Which, frankly, catches me totally off guard. As I dug a little deeper, though, I found that Tanev was suffering the ill of a low on-ice Sv%, at 91.1%. That’s the likely culprit.

Scoring chances:

Screen Shot 2016-04-23 at 10.29.54 AM

And Tanev is back to looking pretty damn swell again. Well, perhaps not by the raw data, which shows him as three-plus points back of breaking even. But relatively speaking, Tanev’s looking alright. The pessimist might point out, though, that this is only the second time in Tanev’s career that he’s been in the red by scoring chance differential.


Screen Shot 2016-04-23 at 10.38.04 AM

Tanev is an excellent shot-blocker, so it’s no surprise that he looks exceedingly good by Fenwick. In fact, he’s in the black with room to spare. Tanev does this by surrendering the fewest unblocked shot attempts of any Canucks defender, at 35.1 FA60.


Chris Tanev is a really important component of the future of this team. His performance this season wasn’t just noticed by Canucks fans either, as he was added to the World Championship roster for Canada, his first time representing his country in international action. With the Canucks moving in a youthful direction, hoping to develop more defencemen in the coming years, a player like Tanev will be there to help. This season, he proved as such with the evolution of Ben Hutton, and though Hutton and Tanev didn’t play a tonne together this year, his steady leadership will have paid dividends. I see no reason why Tanev can’t continue to settle down in this role and climb as an elite defender for the team.  

  • “These Canucks have always lacked a confident force on the backend. Players like Keith Ballard, Christian Ehrhoff and Kevin Bieksa have come and gone, but they were always inconsistent players that you couldn’t rely on.”

    Playing alongside those players were Willie Mitchell and Dan Hamhuis, the epitome of calm, confident defensive-defencemen.

  • Cageyvet

    Hey Grapes,Don Cherry was just singing the praise of Bieksa on hockey night in canada. And he is right, aheart /soul guy who was tough as nails. He was also happy to be a nuck and we let him go in favour of Bartkowski,Weber?

    Seems Benning is in no hurry to resign hammy,that one I can live with. Now lets get a top 3 pick next saturday,then chase Seabrook

    • Cageyvet

      Because heart and soul was so effective last playoff series against Calgary. I love Bieksa as much as the next guy, but he’s lost it.

      Seeing as neither Bartkowski/Weber figure in our plans next year, I’m fine with the decision…


  • Seems Bieksa and the ducks have not lost anything Ryan B! Very shortly they likely will be going to the 2nd round.

    Again like it or not by not signing hammy, we save millions and dump age and a declining defenseman. There are reasons he was 2nd fiddle in Jim Nills eyes. And team canada understands in your words he has lost it.
    We let the wrong dman go last yr.

    • Cageyvet

      Did you watch the Flames series? Did you see KB get exposed repeatedly? The same Hamhuis, who wore the “A” and played very well for Canada last Spring, is the one who has lost it? Caman.

      KB is a passable 5/6 defenseman who can be/is sheltered on a very good Anaheim team. Here in Van, he’d be in the top-4 playing 18+ and “Casual Kev” would be getting publicly roasted.

      Hamhuis >>>>> Russell in every way, if you disagree you’re dead wrong. The only reason Nill went Russell was because he wasn’t going to have a very good (any) chance at re-upping Dan come July 1. Blowing a 2nd round pick for a 2 month rental is pure folly.

      If Dan can agree to a team friendly (1-2 years at $1.5-$2M per) contract, I think he brings great value as a bottom pair/PK specialist. If Dan wants to chase one last contract, thank-you but we can’t do it…

    • Cageyvet

      In what way do you think Team Canada understands? I’m guessing you’re not aware he was an early invitee to Team Canada for this year’s WC and turned them down due to his contract situation. (Reference his Media Availability end of season interview.)

  • OilCanHarry

    Actually a few of you are dead wrong. Also had Benning assembled a tougher team then it would not have fallen entirely on Bieksa to try and fight with Ferland.

    No matter how you try and spin it Bieksa is going to the 2nd round with Kesler and co. and may wind up going a lot further. And you know that Nill did not try and trade for hammy first because he would not be able to sign him in july? You know this because you were in the Dallas meeting rooms for executives,lol?

    Geez your talents are more than just engaging another poster on canucksarmy,well done! Again hamhuis is a character guy,no doubt! But offensively he has never been gifted and defence wise he is not a top 3 dman. He is small ,gets caught up ice too often and can not handle big forwards. If hammy was so valuable then why the hold up to sign him ? I do believe he stays because Benning will finally lowball a player and we all know hamhuis does not want to leave van. no matter what.

  • OilCanHarry

    Whatever peoples viewpoint of Bieksa or Hammy the fact remains they both are not top 3 dman. And so how does our group get better as a whole? Well start by winning more faceoffs and a healthy Sutter should greatly improve this area of puck control.
    But what we have is plain not good as a whole, a group that surrenders far too many shots against and creates too little offense. Sure I love Tanev as a solid dman but he too is offensively challenged.

    But watching the world under game against sweden chycrun looked tentative and certainly not menacing. If we get a top 3 pick we need Matthews or a finnish forward. Then spend some money and try and obtain Hamonik or Seabrook thru trade or free agency.That would be a significant upgrade. A bigger vet who is solid defense wise but capable of manning the point on the pp and scoring goals. And thats something hamhuis can not do

  • Cruiser is obviously part of the TSN1040 call-in audience: the Sedins suck, 7uongo is a bum, we should trade Plug 1/Plug 2/Plug 3 for Legit Superstar X (it worked on my XBox) guy.

    Logic clearly does not apply to him…

  • I have been a fan of the nucks long before you were an obsessed beat writer for canucksarmy biech! I saw the very 1st nuck game when Barry Wilkins scored the very 1st nuck goal.

    Again you are misinformed as I respect and love the Sedin twins. Luongo should have taken a back seat to Cory in at least 1 of the 3 road beatings in beantown. We may have actually won our first cup since we entered the nhl with the Sabres. Now I can undesrtand Bob Nill chiming in with nothing to add to the topic of Tanev and the defense,crowd mentality etc.

    But you certainly have shown your immature lack of confidence but answering me as many times as I seem to be able to get under your skin. And the canucksarmy has you as a regular reporter? Well just goes to show anybody who has a fixation has a shot. And no do not trade for superstars you clown as other gm,s do not give away there best players. There is a reason we wound up where we did this yr. And by changing nobody on the backend and pencilling in your group of dman Edler/Tanev/Sbisa/HAMHUIS/Biega/Pedan/Larsen just what has changed Ryan B,LOL??????? Great pro insight, not! We need major help on the backend and if you can not see this it is you who clearly is CLUELESS! But I do not offer my opinion for a living, you do. Maybe ca needs to upgrade there staff? JD is clearly more professional than you

    • I’m not Ryan Biech.

      If a CA columnist posts in the dumpster fire that is the comments section, they get a green background.

      I’m just a dude named Ryan B that thinks your takes are trash…

  • OilCanHarry

    Oh btw its only fair that the next time the ducks come to town you can remind Bieksa he has completely lost it.

    Will you interview him on his defensive liabilities? Are you going to compare your favourite Hamhuis to him? Better not as he likely comes out better.

  • For the record Ryan B first answered me directly because he was upset that on a day that Hamhuis was nominated as the masterston candidate I had the nerve to question his declining skills.

    And since then Ryan B has decided to try and trash me,lol. No worries, Ryan you are going to have to learn to take the heat or get out of the kitchen! Not every poster or fan is going to agree with everything you say. And if you can not understand this fact of life,I suggest you need to look for other work?

    I stand by my comments,the nucks defense as a whole needs a major upgrade. Tryamkin may prove to be a top 3-4 guy.lets hope so. But aside from Tanev/Edler its unsettled. Sbisa has the size.age but time will tell. Anyways this site is now a joke,when beat writers for an online site take things so personal when someone does not listen to his every misguided word. Therefor I will not post here for awhile and a few of you followers can follow Ryan b LIKE THE PIED PIPER INTO THE DRINK. c