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The Penguins, Tanev, Ferland Contract, Social Media and the Unknown

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Hell hath no fury like a keyboard unheard.

In the parlance of our times, the Twitter machine erupted Wednesday afternoon. First with (mostly) kind words for retiring Pittsburgh Penguins center Matt Cullen. Cullen was a stalwart, a gentleman, and the player who could hold the Penguins stars accountable. He was “Dad,” and at 42-years-old, he retired with a heartfelt message released via Penguins Twitter account.

That was news with positive emotions, so it drifted from view quickly.

Thankfully, something to become outraged over quickly took its place. Since it had been nearly 24 hours since anything worthy of outrage ran across our screens, the world was crying out. Then the Vancouver Canucks inked power forward Michael Ferland to a four-year, $14 million contract.

Yes, it was time to vent!

Ferland got the same average annual value as Bryan Rust and Brandon Tanev, but the Penguins gave Tanev a six-year contract. Both are 27-years-old, but Ferland has scored 41 and 40 points over the past two seasons, respectively. Tanev popped a career-high 29 points last season.

Based on those immediate statistics, Penguins GM Jim Rutherford is a doddering fool who should be retired by force and shamed as he walks to his car with a box of his belongings.

In fairness, that’s kind of what Twitter does. I would also make a Game of Thrones walk-of-shame joke, but I shan’t give you any ideas.

Nevermind that Ferland had only five even strength goals in 2019, or just one assist in the Carolina run to the Eastern Conference Final. Ferland played 39 games in the 2019 calendar year and had only 11 points at 5v5.

While Ferland was the scoring sheet’s distant memory by May, Tanev was a fourth line bruiser with the Winnipeg Jets.

Tanev also scored five even strength goals in 2019, but he also potted a shorthander, too. Tanev scored 14 points (6g, 8a) in 40 games. We used Jan. 1 as the starting point to eliminate Ferland’s hot start and because it is generally the half-way point when things get more serious.

So, Tanev outscored Ferland in the second half. Plays a fast, aggressive game and is a penalty killer. Ferland had a great start but was shuffled to the fourth line by the playoffs and had just one assist over three series. Ferland could develop into a consistent power forward capable of top-six duty. Or he might not.

Tanev is a crash-bang shutdown player who still managed to score 14 points playing in a defensive capacity.

Now, the unknown.

Do we know the Penguins did not make contact with Ferland? Did Ferland drop his asking price after he was one of the last free agents left on the market and most teams had already spent their allowance? Do we if the Penguins didn’t look at Ferland’s significant second half drop and decide that Jake Guentzel and Alex Galchenyuk would probably take the top-six ice time instead of Ferland?

The Carolina Hurricanes had plenty of opportunities to re-sign Ferland, who they acquired last summer as part of the Dougie Hamilton blockbuster trade. The team is not flush with offense but declined.

From Jan 1., Tanev and his main center, Adam Lowry, outscored their often top-tier opponents 16-8 at 5v5. I include that stat because it shows the potential of Tanev to face the best lines and win.

But it seems we know the Penguins were wrong because–right now–they are wrong until proven right. A player labeled as a grinder is NOT what fans wanted to add and a player labeled as a power forward is what the Penguins needed.  And the power forward scorer signed for equal money as Tanev and less term.

Have we mentioned Tanev’s 278 hits and speed? His active penalty killing…or his speed? Perhaps Tanev can fill the void which was left open after the departure of Carl Hagelin.

So why is everyone jumping ugly, again?

Forget it, they’re rolling. Twitter on.

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Pittsburgh Hockey Now Editor-in-Chief, formerly 93.7 The Fan, Sportsnet Hockey Tonight, NHL Home Ice. Catch Dan tweeting @theDanKingerski and the official @pghhockeynow account.

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Dean
Dean
2 years ago

You can take it to the bank that on July 1 the Ferland camp and the sports writers had Ferland in $5M+ range. Value drops quickly when no one is biting.

This is the first comment that I have made on the tanev contract. I was bothered mostly by the term. His age, special skill set, and sounds like character is exactly what the Pens needed.

However. sometimes I think JR gets so fixated on what he wants he far over pays. Tanev reeks of Ryan Reeves!!!!

Alex
Alex
2 years ago
Reply to  Dean

I think Tanev is gonna be the new Hags but will be more physical and actually probably score goals but yea it’s probably a lil of an overpay but if he gives us what hags gave then he’s still .5 mil less than hags was when we had him. I’m most mad because we could’ve traded JJ + Rust and still been able to afford Ferland and Ben Hutton to replace JJ (both had bad stats last year but Hutton is younger and would’ve been hella cheaper and has had a history of success on a bad Vancouver team). I… Read more »

Dean
Dean
2 years ago
Reply to  Alex

Dzingle is still there. He would be a steal at 3.5 and may be better then both.

Alex
Alex
2 years ago
Reply to  Alex

I still think the Rust JJ trade needs to happen and Hutton signed to a two way deal to compete for a spot but there are still good players that at this point might be cheaper then rust which opens up space for extensions or a mid season trade guys like Aberg, Pominville, Williams, Jumbo Joe, Boyle, Brass (Ik there ain’t a chance but he’ll be cheap), Dzingle, Vanek, Marleau, McGinn, Maroon. All these guys can help bring more to the top 9 and some an upgrade in the fourth line with guys like Boyle. If Dzingle is cheap I’d… Read more »

Bob S
Bob S
2 years ago

Forget about these washed up free agents. Make a
blockbuster deal with Montreal sending Letang there for starters. Rutherford needs To redeem himself from the bad signings over the last 3 year starting with Hunwick.

Frank
Frank
2 years ago

Gee Dan . . . if you are going to bring common sense and statistical evidence into the Tanev/Ferland discussion then it just complicates the emotional ranting of those Penguin fans who need an annual sacrifice and punching bag of some player. I think there is a little panic setting in that Johnson may be moved after all . . .then what? Of course there is always Dominic Simon, but if he is in the press box half of the time he makes a poor target. OK . . then Tanev it is! Here is what I find very funny.… Read more »

dean
dean
2 years ago
Reply to  Frank

You know what I find amusing? There are a group of people that can’t respect that others may have a different opinion than them. That someone with a different opinion has some evil motive “those Penguin fans who need an annual sacrifice and punching bag of some player” That someone with a different opinion just aren’t as smart or educated as they are. “Are there 3 fans here that have remotest of clues as to watching the play of Tanev. What . . . someone is subscribed to the Winnipeg Hockey channel and charts his activity.” Because that same group… Read more »

RobertU
RobertU
2 years ago
Reply to  dean

Agree that Frank’s comment was a little too dramatic. But the key point IMO is that there is a loud, vocal, seemingly endlessly angry mob hanging out on social media waiting to pounce on a guy before he’s even had a chance. And, based on what they say, it seems they don’t know much. I mean calling a HOFer and 3x SC winning GM an “old” “incompetent” “idiot” who should be fired seems to be the norm, outside of this site. I’ve even seen professional writers stoke the mob, making claims in paywalled articles that JR is intentionally ruining the… Read more »

Jeff
Jeff
2 years ago

I am a life long Winnipeg resident who adopted Pittsburgh as my team when the Jets left for the desert . I watched every Pens game and as many Jets games as I could on the NHL Network. Tanev provides a boatload of speed coupled with a healthy dose of ill intent. He pressures defensemen on the forecheck because they know he coming fast but they also know he’s bringing the pain as well. He loves separating the defender from the puck using body contact. On the PK he is a fearless shot blocker and the opposition needs to respect… Read more »

Zane Gearhart
Zane Gearhart
2 years ago
Reply to  Jeff

I’m excited to see tanev. He definitely strengthens our bottom 6. Slotted on the 4th with blueger and ZAR gives us an excellent 4th line (all capable of 30-40points), or who knows maybe the play him with Bjugs and HQ, either way I think hell help. My only concern is who do we lose.. waiting on that answer before the signing can be truly graded

RobertU
RobertU
2 years ago
Reply to  Jeff

Thanks for the comment. What I find ironic in all of this is that I’ve seen several articles written from the other side of this, telling Jets fans to settle down, that losing Tanev won’t tank their team, that they will find someone to replace him. So, as much as Pens’ fans seem to hate the guy before he’s even shown up, Jets fans are mad at their team for letting him get away. Agreed on the contract – IMO, unless he blossoms in PIT it was a bit too much money and a couple years too long. But at… Read more »

thevoiceofreason
thevoiceofreason
2 years ago

weird that you’re completely carrying the water of the organization and defending the Tanev contract. You do realize that people can like Tanev the player (I absolutely do, I think he’s a Kunitz lite and will be a great addition to the bottom 6) and at the same time hate the contract that they gave him. It’s too much money and too many years for a bottom 6 player. But no, you have to blindly defend anything that the organization does to keep your access to the team.

Hatrick Pornqvist
Hatrick Pornqvist
2 years ago

I’m excited about Tanev. I watched that whole Jets and Blues series and he impressed me. I actually remember thinking at one point it would be nice to have our version of that guy. He’s just what we need and he can actually play. Other teams like to take runs at us. Let’s not pretend Tom Wilson doesn’t affect the Penguins mentality sometimes. It’ll be nice to have a heavy hitter like Tanev who can also fill other roles like the penalty kill. The Blues showed us what a big forecheck can do to keep defences looking over their shoulders.… Read more »

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