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Brandon Tanev: Short Handed Liability or Offensive Guru?

What is more important on the penalty kill - Stopping the other team or scoring for your team?

NHLI via Getty Images
Via Hockey Reference

Brandon Tanev is a high-energy player. The grit that Tanev plays with is suitable for a bottom six player. Often times, players who play these bottom six roles are prone to be a penalty killer for their team. The most important thing that a penalty killer can do is oddly enough, to kill the penalty. For this analysis, Corsi will be important to know. For the people who do not know what Corsi is, here is a quick breakdown: Corsi is a number that shows how many shot attempts are made when that player is on the ice. This includes blocked shots, misses, and ones that hit the net. Negative values are assigned if the player is on the ice for. Relative Corsi will be what Tanev will be analyzed with, which means that the player is compared against their teammates. This is a statistic that helps see how many shots players are giving up and taking which can help analyze a player’s contributions on the ice and thus giving fans insight on how a player helps their team win games.

When taking a look at the Corsi for a player on the penalty kill, expecting a Corsi number that is positive is hardly fair. Brandon Tanev has a -4.1 Relative Corsi rating when short handed. This puts him at 10th on the team and 6th amongst forwards even though he has the 4th most time on ice per game on the penalty kill for his team and 2nd most as a forward. This means that he is one of the first forwards to be sent out on the penalty kill for the Jets and he is performing worse defensively than others on his team. Against the league, Brandon Tanev’s Relative Corsi is good enough for 400th in the league at the time this article is written, which does not instill confidence into the fanbase.

You might ask ask ‘why would a team want a player on the ice who lets shots towards the net on the penalty kill? There has got to be a reason other than “putting his heart and soul on the ice.”’ Well, there is a reason: the short-handed goal.

Short- handed goals have always been exciting and big momentum changers in close games. Short- handed goals are not necessary to win games but the best teams always find ways to score. Tanev is currently in on the ice for 1.8 goals per 60 minutes of ice time while short handed. That’s the highest rating for all Winnipeg Jets this season. ast year, his 2.0, second on the team, behind Mark Scheifele, with players who averaged over one minute of penalty kill time per game in the 2017-2018 season. Tanev has been consistent over the last couple seasons, making this rating a reliable source of judging his offensive production on the penalty kill.

Brandon Tanev has been killing penalties for the past year and a half, and so far his grit and speed has help him establish himself as a top offensive penalty killer for the Jets. Is having Brandon Tanev on the penalty kill worth it for the amount of shots that get directed towards his own net when he is on the ice or does his consistent offensive production justify his time on the ice on the penalty kill?