Kraken forward Brandon Tanev had been on his way to a career season with his new team, fast becoming a fan favorite and the fledgling franchise’s most recognized player.
But on Monday, that season officially ended.
The Kraken announced what had been suspected for some time; that a Dec. 18 ACL injury to his knee suffered by Tanev during a home loss to the Edmonton Oilers would require surgery and sideline him the remainder of the campaign. It’s a gut-wrenching blow for Tanev and for a Kraken team that had come to rely on him for his gritty production, levity in the locker room and veteran leadership when needed.
The player dubbed “Turbo” for his energetic on-ice style, his flowing hair locks making him instantly visible to fans watching, had already scored nine goals his first 30 games. That had Tanev on pace to surpass his career-high 14 with Winnipeg in 80 games during the 2018-19 campaign, while his 15 points thus far were also set to top his high-mark of 29 from that prior Jets season.
That Tanev could supply such production while still fulfilling a grinding, forechecking role to free up space for other goal-scorers made him tremendously popular inside the locker room and out. That he was also willing to drop his gloves and fight when need be solidified his growing cultlike status among an increasingly large, devoted group of new Kraken fans that undoubtedly will be devastated by news of his injury.
The Kraken were immediately aware something was wrong when Tanev went down in a heap near the end boards, appearing to get his skate caught under a pile of players before twisting his leg awkwardly as he fell. He was helped from the ice but was clearly unable to put any weight on his injured leg.
Tanev underwent an MRI the following day and by Monday, the team had results. Kraken GM Ron Francis said at the time that Tanev was seeking a second opinion on potential treatment for the injury. But he was placed on injured reserve soon after, signaling he’d be out for a while. Now, with further word still to come on the timing of his surgery, that layoff will extend to next fall.