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

RedBeard's Pittsburgh

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 owner, formerly 93.7 The Fan, Sportsnet Hockey Tonight. Catch Dan tweeting @theDanKingerski and the official @pghhockeynow account.

14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. Dean

    July 11, 2019 at 9:39 am

    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

      July 11, 2019 at 11:40 am

      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 don’t think Ferland is needed but I think he would be perfect for the second PP and a good power forward for out top nine and would probably score more than rust.

      • Dean

        July 11, 2019 at 11:48 am

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

      • Alex

        July 11, 2019 at 11:49 am

        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 like to see him with our top 9 on a short deal. There’s also good dmen if they wanted another expensive player their I mean Gardiner is still there.

  2. Bob S

    July 11, 2019 at 12:09 pm

    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.

  3. Frank

    July 11, 2019 at 12:14 pm

    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. 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.
    Oh yeah he may end up being a bust or he may not be “a fit” or he may turn into a pumpkin at center ice on opening night . . . but this nonsense of zeroing in on a guy that has yet to wear a local team practice jersey is baloney. Back to back Cups here created an fantasy world that somehow the Penguins are entitled to players and outcomes that generates champions. And when something happens that does not quite fit the perception that this is going to occur the outrage starts again. Acquiring players is largely a spin of a roulette wheel. The Blues have been spinning that wheel for nearly a half century and only finally came up big. Even legendary teams like the Canadiens and Maple Leafs have come up with just about nothing for the last 25 years (take a look at their respective playoff records over that time). The Rangers . . . one Cup in 60 years.
    So if fans are going to lay down on the floor and stamp their feet and scream over a Tanev addition . .. I shudder to think what it is going to be like when the core guys begin to ride off into the sunset and there is no Crosby or Malkin or Letang (for all their faults real and imagined) that are announced in the starting line up. The poor souls who will be here then as “replacements” had better buckle up as it is going to be a VERY bumpy ride.

    • dean

      July 11, 2019 at 12:29 pm

      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 thinks that their voice is so important it thinks that others opinions matters to the player or the Pens management as much as they think theirs does and that others are something less than a fan.

      Get a grip on it. This is just a discussion board!!!

      • RobertU

        July 11, 2019 at 8:01 pm

        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 team. So, I think there is some truth to the take that there is too much vitriol around this team, given the success they’ve had. It’s one thing to disagree with the money and the term (like I do), but a whole other thing to spew hatred toward the players or the GM or the coach b/c of that disagreement. Like it or not, those guys probably know more than any of us, and none of us know how it will turn out.

  4. Jeff

    July 11, 2019 at 2:47 pm

    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 that speed. In general, he is relentless on the puck and I have never seen him give a lack luster effort. After the Pens were swept in the first round I was thinking to myself that we could really use a guy like Tanev to amp up the energy and urgency of this team that didn’t look all that interested in paying the price to compete with the Islanders. Was the money we gave him too high? Yup. Was the term too long? Oh, hell yes. But, he’ll do everything he can possibly do to earn every dollar of this questionable deal. I can’t really think of a comparable player off the top of my head but to me, he’s like Carl Haglin on steroids. Y’all are going to love him!!!

    • Zane Gearhart

      July 11, 2019 at 5:15 pm

      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

      July 11, 2019 at 7:44 pm

      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 this stage, it’s all guesswork. 3 years from now it could look like a massive mistake, or it could represent a pretty good trade chip to the right team. There’s no point in pretending like we all know how it’s going to play out. Also no point in pretending like JR is some demon for making a deal he thinks fills a critical need.

  5. thevoiceofreason

    July 11, 2019 at 7:17 pm

    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.

    • Dan Kingerski

      July 11, 2019 at 10:38 pm

      I do not carry water for any team or org. I’ve detailed where GMJR went wrong beginning last summer. Called the Hagelin trade an iffy deal (and it didn’t work), but praised where its due. The two things I don’t bend to are the organization or fan sentiment.

  6. Hatrick Pornqvist

    July 11, 2019 at 9:50 pm

    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. We still have a young fast group of forwards too so I really like that as well.

    Obviously the term is a bit of a head scratcher but this is exactly the kind of spark plug that we need. Very happy we got a guy like this. Reaves was a guy I liked because he brought certain obvious things but I wish he hit more. Gudbranson can play that role now and also played defence well, and now we have that guy who will play like I wish Reaves did. I think this team is going to be energized.

    I like how you keep stressing the need not to get caught up in the blogosphere’s and twittersphere’s madness and Dan. Stay true to that. You’re creating a pretty reasonable community of fans here where reason and healthy debate can thrive. That’s actually rare these days and far more productive than getting caught up in narratives that spin out of control on social media. Stay vigilant. Another great read.

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