Injured Brandon Tanev to miss 4-6 weeks, and the meaning for the Kraken

Seattle Kraken v Vegas Golden Knights

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - OCTOBER 10: Brandon Tanev #13 of the Seattle Kraken is tended to by head athletic trainer Mike Booi and Adam Larsson #6 after taking a hit to the head in the third period at T-Mobile Arena on October 10, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Brett Howden #21 of the Vegas Golden Knights received a match penalty for the illegal hit to the head on Tanev. The Golden Knights defeated the Kraken 4-1. (Photo by Candice Ward/Getty Images)Photo: Candice Ward / Getty Images Sport / Getty Images

The Seattle Kraken will be without their energetic and galvanizing forward Brandon Tanev, officially ruled out for an expected four to six weeks, the Kraken announced on Monday and the eve of the team's home opener with a lower body injury. 

Though the exact nature of the injury was withheld, he was knocked out of the season opener on Oct. 12 in a 4-1 loss at Vegas. Tanev absorbed a vicious check to the head from the Golden Knights’ Brett Howden at center ice, leaving Tanev to fall to the ice and visibly land awkwardly on his left leg. 

Howden was ejected from the game and served a five-minute match penalty for the hit, and then next day, suspended for two games by the NHL Department of Player Safety. 

The current timeline projects Tanev to return to the lineup between the middle to late portion of November. 


Tanev’s absence subtracts a fan favorite, arguably one of the biggest emotional sparks plug roles, and a valuable part of the depth scoring that became a part of the team’s identity. His 16 goals and 35 points were new career highs and never missed a game last season, enjoying a full bill of health after a tough 2021-22 campaign where he was seemingly on pace to match last season’s numbers, but was lost for the season after a violent collision into the end boards in a December game against Edmonton, and tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. 

A linchpin on the penalty kill for his speed and tenacity, his presence was a part of a group that entered today as one of the top units tracing back to last February and are 80-of-89 in that span. 

The news is a frustrating turn for Tanev, 31, who has been now sidelined with injuries and a bout with COVID-19 in three of the last four years, dating back to his time with the Pittsburgh Penguins. He has two years of team control left on a six-year deal worth $3.5 million annually, a contract drawn up by Jim Rutherford in Pittsburgh and transferred to the Kraken in the expansion draft. 

For now, the door is wide open for rookie forward Tye Kartye to seize ice time in Tanev’s role, playing with Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and Kailer Yamamoto, and has been penciled into the lineup for each of the last two games. The 22-year old forward, who passed the final round of cuts and is technically a first year forward, has a slight experience advantage than the average league rookie with three goals and five points in ten playoff games last year, inserted into the lineup for good starting with game 5 at Colorado in the first round. 

Tanev was dispatched with Bellemare, Adam Larsson and Jamie Oleksiak on the penalty kill. For the last two games, Alex Wennberg has taken Tanev’s place. The unit hasn’t skipped a beat, and it’s likely Wennberg, whose long reach and on-ice intelligence are strengths, stays there for the time being. 

It's unclear yet if the Kraken will make a corresponding move. Winger John Hayden is a call-up candidate from AHL Coachella Valley, a 6-foot-3 forward with size and strength. He was one of the final cuts from the Kraken roster in training camp and has 247 games of NHL experience along with 37 points and 290 penalty minutes. 


“Obviously he plays an important role on this team, whether that be on the PK or at five on five So we're going to have to step up in his absence and try to fill his role here a little bit.”

-       Tye Kartye, Monday, on the absence of Tanev 

“I feel like the more we play with each other, the more we'll get used to each other playing, where we are in different spots on the ice. But I think just trying to play my role and play to the best of my abilities - whether that would be to get an energy shift or trying to put the puck in the net - whatever it may be.” 

-       Kartye on the progress of his game and the needs in the Kraken lineup, with Bellemare and Yamamoto 

“Really good player for us – he competes so hard every night and brings pace, energy, and has been a big part of our penalty kill. So, all of those elements, you hate to see those guys with injuries especially early on. But the fact is, it's part of the game and we'll be without him here for a few weeks.”

-       Head coach Dave Hakstol on the absence of Tanev 

“’Karts’ and ‘Yamo’ have done a really nice job with ‘Bellie’ and they've been a consistent line. They've been pretty good and reliable defensively. They've generated some opportunities – haven’t scored yet but they've generated some opportunities, so we're comfortable with those guys. ‘Karts’ is a young guy that's hungry to be in the lineup. But even with the youth he brings, he's a pretty mature player out there in terms of his reliability. So, he fits in well. ‘Yamo’s’ done a nice job since day one of training camp.” 

-       Hakstol on Kartye's spot in the lineup and the line's progression

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