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Christopher Tanev

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Christopher Tanev
Chris Tanev 02-2015.JPG
Tanev with the Canucks in 2015
Born (1989-12-20) December 20, 1989 (age 29)
East York, Ontario, Canada
Height 6 ft 2 in (188 cm)
Weight 197 lb (89 kg; 14 st 1 lb)
Position Defence
Shoots Right
NHL team Vancouver Canucks
National team  Canada
NHL Draft Undrafted
Playing career 2010–present

Christopher Tanev (born December 20, 1989) is a Canadian professional ice hockey defenceman and an alternate captain for the Vancouver Canucks of the National Hockey League (NHL). Unselected in the NHL Entry Draft, he was signed by the Canucks as a free agent after his freshman year with the Rochester Institute of Technology Tigers. In his only college season, he was named Atlantic Hockey's Rookie of the Year, in addition to receiving All-Tournament and Third All-Star Team honours, while helping the Tigers to a conference championship. Prior to college, he played three seasons in the Ontario Provincial Junior Hockey League.

Early life[edit]

Tanev was born in East York, Ontario, to Sophie Meredith and Mike "Misho" Tanev. He has two brothers, Brandon (who plays left wing for the Winnipeg Jets) and Kyle, and is of Macedonian descent.[1] Playing minor hockey within the Greater Toronto Hockey League, he competed with the Toronto Red Wings.[2] After being cut from seven midget-level teams at age 16 due to a lack of size (he was less than five feet and roughly 120 pounds at the time),[2] Tanev resorted to playing for his high school's team and took up roller hockey in the summer.[3] After graduating from high school at the East York Collegiate Institute, he enrolled in the Rochester Institute of Technology as a finance major while playing college hockey.[4]

Playing career[edit]

Junior and college[edit]

Tanev played in the Ontario Provincial Junior Hockey League (OPJHL) for three seasons. Starting off with the Durham Fury in 2006–07, he recorded no goals and nine assists over 40 games. He split the following season between Durham, the Stouffville Spirit and the Markham Waxers renamed Markham Royals, combining for 17 points (2 goals and 15 assists) over 49 games between the three teams. Playing the 2008–09 campaign with Markham, he led all team defencemen in scoring with 41 points in 50 games, while serving as an alternate captain; he was named the team's top defenceman at the end of the season.[4]

In 2009–10, he joined the NCAA Division I ranks with the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) Tigers of the Atlantic Hockey Conference. Placed on the team's top defensive pairing with team captain Dan Ringwald,[3] he recorded 10 goals and 28 points over 41 games, while leading his team with a +33 plus-minus rating. After being named Atlantic Hockey Rookie of the Week on three occasions during the season, he received Rookie of the Year honours and was named to the conference's All-Rookie and Third All-Star Teams.[5] In the 2010 playoffs, Tanev helped the Tigers to a conference championship, defeating the Sacred Heart Pioneers in the final. He was named to the All-Tournament Team. Advancing to the NCAA tournament, RIT was eliminated in the national semifinal by the Wisconsin Badgers. Tigers head coach Wayne Wilson described him during his freshman year as a "late bloomer", having grown six inches in his final year of junior, while praising his offensive skills.[4]

Vancouver Canucks[edit]

Tanev playing for the Chicago Wolves

During the NCAA tournament, Tanev was scouted by Vancouver Canucks director of player development Dave Gagner, who was previously acquainted with Tanev as his childhood roller hockey coach. The Canucks scouting staff collectively identified him as "the smartest player on the ice" in the East Regional segment of the tournament.[3] On May 31, 2010, Tanev signed as an undrafted free agent with the Canucks, foregoing his final three years of college hockey eligibility.[6] He had received interest from at least three other teams, including the San Jose Sharks, Ottawa Senators and Columbus Blue Jackets, but ultimately chose Vancouver.[2]

Beginning the 2010–11 season with the Canucks' minor league affiliate, the Manitoba Moose of the American Hockey League (AHL), he scored his first professional goal against the Rochester Americans on November 13, 2010.[5] He received his first call-up to Vancouver on January 16, 2011,[7] after injuries to Canucks defencemen Andrew Alberts and Aaron Rome.[8] Making his Canucks debut two days later against the Colorado Avalanche,[9] he became the first RIT alumnus to play in the NHL.[5] He later recorded his first NHL point on January 24, a second assist on a Dan Hamhuis powerplay goal, the final Canucks tally in a 7–1 win against the Dallas Stars.[10] He remained with the NHL team for an extended period as Canucks defencemen continued to suffer injuries.

On March 31, 2011, Tanev had to be helped off the ice during a game against the Los Angeles Kings after opposing forward Kyle Clifford pushed him head-first into the end-boards.[11] While recovering from the upper-body injury, he was returned to the Moose on April 7, as several regular defencemen returned to the Canucks line-up from injury at that time.[12] Averaging 13 minutes of ice time per game over 29 NHL contests with one assist, Tanev was commended by Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault for being "very dependable...making the high-percentage plays." Vigneault also added that he had a good chance of playing with the Canucks "on a regular basis down the road."[13] Completing the 2010–11 regular season with the Moose, he finished with 1 goal and 8 assists over 39 AHL games. Tanev added a goal and 2 assists in 14 playoff games as the Moose were defeated in the second round. Following Manitoba's elimination, he was called up to the Canucks for their playoff run as a reserve.[14] In the Canucks' Game 3 contest against the San Jose Sharks in the third round, defencemen Christian Ehrhoff and Aaron Rome were both injured. Tanev was inserted into the line-up for the following game and made his NHL playoff debut on May 22, 2011.[15] As the Canucks moved on to the Stanley Cup Finals against the Boston Bruins, Ehrhoff and Rome returned to action, temporarily sending Tanev back to the sidelines. Following injuries to Dan Hamhuis and Rome's suspension, Tanev played in the final three contests of the series, which the Canucks lost in seven games.[16]

Following his professional rookie season, Tanev trained in the off-season particularly to increase his strength. Entering the Canucks' training camp with an added 10 pounds,[17] he made the Canucks' opening line-up for the 2011–12 season. After dressing for three of the team's first five games, he was reassigned to the Chicago Wolves, Vancouver's new AHL affiliate (the Moose were relocated to St. John's, Newfoundland, after the Winnipeg Jets returned to the NHL). Vigneault explained that the organization wanted Tanev receiving more ice time than he could receive in Vancouver while competing for the "No. 5 to No. 8 spots on [the] team."[18] In his first game with the Wolves, he injured an oblique muscle after receiving a hit and was sidelined for a month. After returning, he formed a top defensive pairing on the team with Kevin Connauton.[19] In late-January 2012, he was called up by the Canucks for one game, then again in mid-February until the end of the season.[20] In 25 NHL games, he recorded two assists, while also recording 14 assists over 34 AHL games in 2011–12. Tanev also competed in all five of the Canucks' playoff games in 2012 without registering a point.

His first NHL goal was scored on February 4, 2013, in an overtime win against Devan Dubnyk of the Edmonton Oilers.[21] On March 24, 2015 Tanev signed a 5-year contract extension with the Canucks.[22]

International play[edit]

Medal record
Ice hockey
Representing Canada Canada
World Championships
Gold medal – first place 2016 Russia

Tanev played a major role in the 2016 IIHF World Championships team which captured gold against Finland. He was praised for his composure and defensive play by Team Canada head coach Bill Peters, and was named the best player of the game in Canada's 7-1 victory over Hungary.[23] In the tournament semifinal versus the United States, Tanev robbed a scoring chance from the Americans late in the third period, which would have resulted in the tying goal. After accidentally breaking his stick in the American zone, he raced back to the Canadian end, intercepting a pass and blocking a shot without the use of his stick.[24]

Tanev's biggest moment came in the tournament final against Finland, playing 21:38 in ice time, including a team-high 8:37 in the third period as Canada defended their one-goal lead.[25] Team Canada held on to win the gold medal for a second consecutive year.

According to many observers, including Ray Ferraro and teammates Brendan Gallagher and Connor McDavid, Tanev was perhaps the best defenceman in the tournament in terms of his defensive play - he and his defence partner, Morgan Rielly, were not on the ice for a single goal against at even-strength. Tanev also played a major role on Canada's tournament-best penalty kill that allowed just two goals against in 29 opportunities. He registered one assist during the tournament.[25][26]

Playing style[edit]

Tanev is a defenceman lauded for his "hockey sense" and puck-moving ability.[27] Upon being scouted out of college by Canucks personnel, his style of play was compared to offensive defenceman Christian Ehrhoff.[2] Not aggressive, Tanev relies primarily on his positioning to check players. Following his performance in Game 5 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals, teammate Kevin Bieksa also highlighted his calm on-ice demeanor, quipping that "he could have played with a cigarette in his mouth."[28]

Career statistics[edit]

Regular season and playoffs[edit]

Regular season Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
2006–07 Durham Fury OPJHL 40 0 9 9 8 4 0 3 3 6
2007–08 Durham Fury OPJHL 19 1 6 7 12
2007–08 Stouffville Spirit OPJHL 4 0 0 0 0
2007–08 Markham Waxers OPJHL 26 1 9 10 12 23 1 2 3 4
2008–09 Markham Waxers OPJHL 50 4 37 41 33 14 1 5 6 8
2009–10 RIT Tigers AHC 41 10 18 28 4
2010–11 Manitoba Moose AHL 39 1 8 9 16 14 1 2 3 4
2010–11 Vancouver Canucks NHL 29 0 1 1 0 5 0 0 0 0
2011–12 Vancouver Canucks NHL 25 0 2 2 2 5 0 0 0 0
2011–12 Chicago Wolves AHL 34 0 14 14 6
2012–13 Chicago Wolves AHL 29 2 10 12 6
2012–13 Vancouver Canucks NHL 38 2 5 7 10
2013–14 Vancouver Canucks NHL 64 6 11 17 8
2014–15 Vancouver Canucks NHL 70 2 18 20 12 6 0 3 3 0
2015–16 Vancouver Canucks NHL 69 4 14 18 8
2016–17 Vancouver Canucks NHL 53 2 8 10 14
2017–18 Vancouver Canucks NHL 42 2 9 11 8
NHL totals 390 18 68 86 62 16 0 3 3 0


Year Team Event Result   GP G A Pts PIM
2016 Canada WC 1st, gold medalist(s) 10 0 1 1 0
Totals 10 0 1 1 0


Award Year
Markham Waxers
Top Defenceman 2008–09
Atlantic Hockey
Atlantic Hockey Rookie of the Year 2009–10
All-Atlantic Hockey Third Team 2009–10
All-Atlantic Hockey Rookie Team 2009–10
Atlantic Hockey All-Tournament Team 2010


  1. ^ "A day with Tanev". "Tanev has Macedonian roots with his grandparents on both sides hailing from the country in southeastern Europe".
  2. ^ a b c d "Tanev a late grower, not a late bloomer". Vancouver Canucks. 2010-06-28. Retrieved 2011-10-11.
  3. ^ a b c Jamieson, Jim (2011-03-12). "'Short' tale with a Disney ending". The Province. Vancouver: Postmedia News. Retrieved 2011-03-14.
  4. ^ a b c "Chris Tanev". Rochester Institute of Technology. Archived from the original on October 2, 2011. Retrieved 2011-02-03.
  5. ^ a b c "Former men's hockey standout Chris Tanev makes NHL debut with the Vancouver Canucks". Rochester Institute of Technology. January 17, 2011. Archived from the original on February 4, 2011. Retrieved 2011-01-28.
  6. ^ Vancouver Canucks (May 31, 2010). "Canucks sign defencemen Yann Sauve, Lee Sweatt, and Chris Tanev". Retrieved May 31, 2010.
  7. ^ "Canucks recall defenceman Chris Tanev". Vancouver Canucks. 2011-01-16. Retrieved 2011-01-16.
  8. ^ "Andrew Alberts knocked out of game with shoulder injury. Here comes Chris Tanev". The Vancouver Province. 2011-01-16. Retrieved 2015-02-25.
  9. ^ Ziemer, Brad (January 19, 2011). "Tanev leans on wise words". The Vancouver Sun. Postmedia News. Archived from the original on January 22, 2011. Retrieved January 19, 2011.
  10. ^ "Stars vs. Canucks". Vancouver Canucks. 2011-01-24. Retrieved 2011-02-03.
  11. ^ "Canucks clinch Presidents' Trophy". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 2011-04-01. Retrieved 2011-05-08.
  12. ^ "Moose getting help?". Winnipeg Sun. 2011-04-06. Retrieved 2011-05-08.
  13. ^ Kuzma, Ben (2011-02-09). "The tenacity of Tanev" (PDF). The Province. Vancouver. Retrieved 2015-02-25.
  14. ^ "Canucks recall Chris Tanev, Eddie Lack, Sergei Shirokov, Aaron Volpatti and Alex Bolduc". OurSports Central. 2011-05-13. Retrieved 2011-05-22.
  15. ^ "Canucks sink Sharks in Game 4". The Globe and Mail. 2011-05-22. Retrieved 2011-05-22.
  16. ^ "Vancouver Canucks defenceman Chris Tanev looks set to make Stanley Cup debut". National Hockey League. 2011-06-10. Retrieved 2011-06-11.
  17. ^ Ziemer, Brad (2011-09-19). "Tanev adds prerequisite muscle". The Vancouver Sun. Postmedia News. Retrieved 2011-10-11.
  18. ^ Jamieson, Jim (2011-10-17). "Tanev and Sturm demoted with Kesler's return". The Province. Postmedia News. Retrieved 2011-10-17.
  19. ^ Jamieson, Jim (2011-12-14). "Tanev making a comeback after season of woes". The Province. Vancouver: Postmedia News. Retrieved 2012-01-23.
  20. ^ "Chris Tanev". The Sports Network. Retrieved 2012-01-23.
  21. ^ Tanev's OT goal lifts Canucks past Oilers
  22. ^ "Canucks sign defenceman Chris Tanev to five-year contract extension". Retrieved 2015-11-02.
  23. ^ "The rookie".
  24. ^ "Chris Tanev and Canada defeat USA, head to gold medal game".
  25. ^ a b "Chris Tanev and Ben Hutton are world champions".
  26. ^ "Tanev "unsung hero" of gold medal game".
  27. ^ Pap, Elliott (2011-10-03). "Chris Tanev proving to be real deal in second pro season". The Vancouver Sun. Postmedia News. Retrieved 2011-10-11.
  28. ^ "Canucks rookie Chris Tanev gets chance in Game 5". USA Today. Associated Press. 2011-06-11. Retrieved 2011-10-11.

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
David Kostuch
Atlantic Hockey Rookie of the Year
Succeeded by
Taylor Holstrom