Seattle Kraken forward Brandon Tanev won’t return to the ice this season.
The Kraken announced Monday that Tanev suffered a ACL injury in the loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Dec. 18 and will require surgery. The recovery will keep him sidelined for the remainder of 2021-22.
The severity of the injury was immediately feared when Tanev was unable to put weight on his leg as he was helped off the ice. He was placed on injured reserve days later.
“He was a massive player for us, and he was having a great year,” forward Joonas Donskoi said after practice on Monday. “I feel bad for him. That’s really unfortunate. You could see brought the energy in every practice, every game. He can score goals, and he’s actually pretty skilled, too. That’s a big loss for us.”
Tanev’s energy and speed on the ice — he earned the nickname “Turbo” for a reason— along with his long hair and wide-eyed team picture instantly endeared him to followers of the NHL’s newest franchise. His performance helped, too. Tanev’s nine goals and 15 points in 30 games had him on pace to set career highs in both categories. He scored 14 goals with Winnipeg in 2018-19 and finished with 29 points the season before.
Tanev’s personality resonated with his teammates as much as it captivated fans.
“He’s a passionate guy,” said forward Jordan Eberle. “He’s emotional. He brings a lot of emotion to the locker room, a lot of life. It’s such a tough loss, man. Obviously, seeing things he does bring to the ice. He brings energy. He brings his physicality. He’s been scoring a lot of goals this year.
“It’s hard to lose him. For me, most importantly, he’s a leadership guy. He’s got a voice in the room, and he brings a lot of energy and a lot of life to the locker room. That’s for sure a tough, tough loss. I know he’s gonna get a speedy recovery and I hope to see him around a lot because his presence is big for the locker room.”
With Tanev leaving a hole in the locker room and on the ice, Eberle said the Kraken will have to fill the void by committee.
“Individuals have to raise their play and other guys are gonna get more opportunities,” Eberle said. “You look at the way rosters are going throughout the NHL, guys are dropping left and right with COVID. You’re just gonna have to find a way to win with whatever roster you got and the most competitive team is the one that’s gonna pull that off.”
On-ice adjustments resulting from the loss of Tanev will be determined in the coming days, said head coach Dave Hakstol. Any moves will be affected by roster availability, he said, especially considering the Kraken currently have six players in COVID-19 protocol.
“First thoughts are I’m disappointed for Brandon,” Hakstol said. “It’s difficult news when you hear of that type of an injury, especially at this point. in the season. He’s an important player for us. He’s a huge part of the dressing room and a big part of what we’ve been doing on the ice.”
▪ Mason Appleton entered COVID-19 protocol for the Kraken on Monday, joining Ryan Donato, Vince Dunn, Adam Larsson, Jamie Oleksiak and Carson Soucy. Hakstol said he was hopeful Oleksiak and Soucy could rejoin the team on Tuesday. Seattle, who had just four defensemen available for Monday’s practice, is scheduled to face Philadelphia at home on Wednesday.