Vancouver Canucks defenceman Chris Tanev‘s defensive play has received high praise from team brass and fans alike, but the knock has always been his play in the offensive zone.
In 54 career games with the Canucks, Tanev has shown the ability to put up better numbers than a measly three assists with his puck-moving skills and deft passing. One of things he has shown is the uncanny ability to find the open man at the left faceoff circle from the right point—leaving many to wonder why Tanev hasn’t been able to put up more points.
Tanev spent this past summer training with Gary Roberts, a former NHL player and now regarded as one of the best fitness trainers, hoping to add muscle and strength to his slapshot.
“I’m always looking to pass first and sometimes if you’re looking to pass and nothing is there, by the time you want to shoot there’s no lane there,” Tanev told the Province in August. “There’s definitely a lot of reinforcement from myself and the people around me to shoot the puck once in a while.
“When guys know you’re going to shoot it, usually that’s when the passing lanes will open up. It’s some-thing I have to get better at and I’ll definitely be doing that more once camp starts.”
This season, Tanev has shown the offseason training and adopting a more offensive mentality has worked. He shares the scoring lead for defencemen on the team with veteran Mark Matheson at ten points apiece.
Tanev’s defensive game has not regressed in his search for offense. He leads the team in plus/minus with a rating of +6 and has been an even or better player in the last five games, 17 of the last 22 games.