Chris Tanev expected that by this point in the summer, his free agent fate would have already been decided. However, with the league on pause and his Vancouver Canucks still set to take on an expanded playoff field before he becomes a UFA in November, Tanev is using the time to continue expressing just how much he would like to remain with the team. Speaking to NHL.com, Tanev stated that he would “love” to re-sign with Vancouver, the only team he has ever known. An unlikely NHLer who signed with the Canucks after his freshman year at RIT in 2009-10, the 30-year-old has grown into a solid pro defenseman who has been a pivotal presence for Vancouver when healthy and a locker room leader as well. This season, he took on the role of mentor as well and found instant chemistry with star rookie Quinn Hughes. Tanev states that part of his excitement to stay with the Canucks is to keep playing alongside Hughes, who has also expressed a similar sentiment about Tanev. While Tanev is not the only key free agent in need of a new contract from the cap-strapped Canucks, with Jacob Markstrom and Tyler Toffoli in line as well, his tie to the franchise’s new cornerstone defenseman certainly helps his case. Tanev also stands a chance of boosting his stock in the upcoming postseason. He and Alexander Edler are the only holdovers from Vancouver’s 2011 Stanley Cup Final run and could provide valuable experience that fuels another run for the team. Regardless of what happens, Tanev has made it clear that he does not want this to be his last season with the Canucks and it is up to the team to decide what happens next.
- A Pacific Division peer who does not seem to be sticking around is Arizona Coyotes forward Andy Miele. The veteran returned from the KHL this season, signing a two-year deal with Arizona, but played exclusively with the AHL’s Tucson Roadrunners. It appears that he plans to have the second year of his contract terminated, as Russian source Championat reports that he has signed a one-year deal to return to Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod. Miele was one of the most productive players for Torpedo in 2018-19 and found the same success with Tucson this year, but it did not turn into any NHL opportunities and has prompted a return to the KHL.
- Heading the other direction from Russia to North America is talented young forward Maxim Barbashev. The 16-year-old younger brother of the St. Louis Blues’ Ivan Barbashev, Barbashev has been highly touted out of Russia’s youth ranks, scoring at better than a point-per-game rate this year at the U-17 and U-18 levels combined. Now he will take his talents to Canadian juniors, joining the QMJHL’s Moncton Wildcats. Agent Dan Milstein announced that a deal was done between the Wildcats and their first-round pick in 2020 CHL Import Draft. Barbashev will follow in his brother’s footsteps, as Ivan starred for Moncton for three years himself, and hopes that he might even surpass his No. 33 overall NHL Draft slot in a couple of years.