Brandon Tanev already seeing prominent role for Penguins alongside Evgeni Malkin
For the second consecutive day, Brandon Tanev, the Pittsburgh Penguins most prominent free agent signing this offseason, practiced and scrimmaged on a line with one of the NHL’s most prominent players in Evgeni Malkin.
Tanev, who primarily played a third-line role with the Jets previously in his career, has been skating with Malkin as well as Alex Galchenyuk over the course of 48 hours and hasn’t looked overwhelmed by the assignment. During Saturday’s scrimmage in Cranberry, Tanev received a stretch pass from Malkin to create a partial breakaway which was snuffed out by goaltender Tristan Jarry.
After Friday’s scrimmage, Malkin lauded Tanev as one of the NHL’s fastest players.
Tanev has a pretty favorable opinion of his would-be linemates.
“It’s easy to play so far with (Malkin) and (Galchenyuk), said Tanev. “They’re both great players, and I’m looking forward to keeping that going throughout camp.”
Considering Malkin is a former Hart Memorial Trophy recipient and Galchenyuk was the No. 3 overall pick in the 2012 draft, Tanev, who was undrafted, would appear to have a clear-cut role on this line.
“I like to play a physical game,” Tanev said. “When the games come around, I like to play tenacious and physical and try to get on the body as much as I can.”
In other words, his game could be something of a combination of the ferocious Chris Kunitz and fleet Carl Hagelin, each former Penguins forecheckers who, at times, excelled on Malkin’s wing.
Signed to a six-year contract with a cap hit of $3.5 million, Tanev didn’t find out about his considerable assignment until Friday.
“Just the first day of training camp,” he said. “They put a jersey in your stall and you’re told who you go out there with and you try to build some confidence and chemistry.”
“One of the things we like about him is he got a real conscientious 200-foot game,” coach Mike Sullivan said. “He can really skate. He’s got a physical edge to his game. He’s good on the forecheck. We think he can force turnovers, create loose-puck opportunities for a player like (Malkin), and he’s good at both ends of the rink. He’s a guy that could be complementary of (Malkin) and Alex. We thought we would try him through the course of training camp and see where it goes. That’s something that we’ve been seriously considering.”
Seth Rorabaugh is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Seth by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .