Earlier today, Vancouver Canucks coach Travis Green revealed a fact too familiar to Canucks fans: Chris Tanev is injured. Green told the press that Tanev had been sent back to Vancouver from the team’s current road trip due to an upper body injury. Canucks beat writer Iain MacIntyre has since added that early indications are that Tanev, Vancouver’s top defenseman, could be out two to three weeks with his newest ailment. The specifics of Tanev’s injury remain unknown, but given this relatively lengthy timeline, more should be known soon.
Durability continues to be a major concern for the 27-year-old Tanev. The reliable two-way defender is as solid in his own end as they come, but as the old adage goes “the best ability is availability”. Now playing in his eighth season, Tanev has never played in more than 70 games in a season. Over the past four years, since Tanev truly became a regular blue liner in Vancouver, he has missed 72 games – nearly a whole season – due to injury. In fact, the 2016-17 campaign was his worst yet, as Tanev only managed to skate in 58 games and recorded a total of only 10 points.
Fortunately for Vancouver, the blue line has not suffered the same injury bug (so far) this year as they did last year. Tanev’s absence was felt in a major way in 2016-17, as Erik Gudbranson missed all but 30 games and both Alexander Edler and Ben Hutton were sidelined for 10+ games. Edler has been out of the Canucks lineup recently, but is ready to return, alongside a healthy Hutton and Gudbranson and newcomers Michael Del Zotto, Derrick Pouliot, and Patrick Wiercioch. That grouping isn’t without issue, but stands a better chance of surviving the loss of Tanev, as well as young Troy Stecher, than they did last season.