What should the Calgary Flames do with Chris Tanev?

Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Robert Munnich
11 months ago
The Calgary Flames signed free agent Chris Tanev to a four year, $18 million contract in the 2020 off-season. There were a lot of people (myself included) who were skeptical about giving a large contract to a 30-year-old player who had issues staying healthy.
Boy, were we wrong.
Tanev has been fantastic in his first three seasons with the Flames. He has been a very important player both on and off the ice. He makes his defence partners better, he is a great penalty killer and is the heart of the Flames team defence.
But Tanev only has one year left on his contract. What should the Flames do with him?

Reasons to keep Tanev

He is a heart and soul player
Players like Chris Tanev are somewhat of a dying breed in today’s NHL. There are not a lot of guys who are willing to sacrifice their bodies like Tanev does each and every night. He plays through pain. He blocks shots with every part of his body (including his head). He does everything in his power to ensure the Flames do not get scored on when he is on the ice.
Having those types of people in your locker room are valuable, especially come April and May.
He is the best defensive defenceman on the team
Tanev is a great defensive player. I would argue one of the better defensive defencemen in the NHL.
He is incredibly smart as he makes the right play nearly every time, he touches the puck. He has a high hockey IQ in his own end. As previously mentioned, he makes his defence partners better players. Just ask Oliver Kylington and Noah Hanifin.
He is on the ice in the final minute of a game holding the lead. He is a major part of the Flames top penalty killing unit.
He is one of the more underappreciated players across the league.

What would a contract extension look like?

Finding comparable contracts for Tanev is not easy because of his age, style of play, and injury history. There are not a lot of defencemen out there with his profile. But here are a couple examples of what his next deal could look like.
Ryan Suter4 Years, $3.65 million AAV
Alex Goligoski2 Years, $2 million AAV
(Contract information courtesy of CapFriendly.)
I could see Tanev signing short term deals to play in his desired location. Whether that’s Calgary, Vancouver, or somewhere else. He mentioned in his year-end meeting with the media that he is comfortable playing on one-year contracts.

Reasons to move on from Tanev

Age and injury history
Tanev will be 34 years old when he signs his next NHL contract. 34-year-old players who play the way Tanev does will certainly start to see a decline in their play. Especially someone whose body is as beat up as Tanev’s is.
He is coming off back-to-back seasons where he injured his shoulder. Those are tough injuries to come back from and who knows if he is going to be the same player next season and beyond.
He could get the Flames a nice return at the 2024 trade deadline
I don’t think it’s an urgent decision the Flames need to make on Tanev. You can hold on to him up until the trade deadline and see where he and the team is at. If he does go on the trading block, the Flames should be able to get a solid return if he is healthy. Tanev is the type of defenceman who would be a huge addition for a team who is going to legitimately compete for the Stanley Cup. It wouldn’t surprise me if someone offered up a late first round draft pick for Tanev at or near the 2024 trade deadline.

What should the Flames do with Chris Tanev

The Flames should hold on to Tanev to start next season. Pair him up with Oliver Kylington again and see how things play out. If the Flames are not a clear threat to compete for a cup in the west, then I think you have to trade him. But if the Flames are in first or second in the pacific and playing great hockey, then it would make sense to keep him for a playoff run.
Tanev has been a great Flame. The team has had a great return on their investment. Because of that I don’t think it is critical to get assets in return for Tanev, unless you are out of the playoffs or a bubble team. In that case you have to get something for him to help build for the future.
What do you think the Flames should do with Chris Tanev? Let us know in the comments section! 
Check out the other 2024 UFA profiles here: Nikita Zadorov, Noah Hanifin, Tyler Toffoli 

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