The Calgary Flames put forward one of their absolute best efforts of the past 12 months tonight against the Vancouver Canucks. From start to finish, the Flames matched the efforts of one of the best teams in the NHL.
That being said, there was one glaring issue from last night’s game and that was the status and handling of Chris Tanev.
During the game, Tanev blocked a number of shots and left the game twice for a short period of time. Despite his departures, he did return and finished the game albeit with the whole fanbase holding their breath. It’s unclear as to what exactly was bothering him, but the replay showed he may have taken a strong shot of the hand that may have lingered.
The issue has nothing to do with his effort, but with the risky game that the team is playing with one of their pending UFAs.
Playing with fire
Tanev has a long history of severe injuries in the NHL based on how he plays. There is no point in changing his style of game since he is just plain and simply elite at it, but it opens him up to a bigger injury chance as a result. During his time in Calgary, he hasn’t suffered nearly as many lost man games as he did during his time with the Canucks. That being said, he’s still suffered some serious blows like a puck to the face and a dislocated shoulder the last few seasons.
If Tanev continues to play the way that he does, then an injury is not just likely, it’s highly probable.
Last night this was clearly out on display when Tanev left the game twice as everyone started holding their collective breath. Not only because of the impact that he has on the team, but due to the fact that he is one of the team’s best trade assets at this point in time. Any type of injury could be significantly detrimental to that value.
Based on the team’s performance last night, it may not be quite the time to throw in the towel yet, but if teams are offering up significant assets for Tanev’s services the Flames would be foolish to ignore for a long time. It’s a near-impossible situation to be in, but after seeing how the team may have avoided a serious injury last night there is surely going to be some additional conversations with those teams involved in the trade sweepstakes.
The longer the team waits, the more likely that Tanev could suffer an injury that ruins the Flames’ future plans. It’s not likely that they stop playing him entirely, and should probably focus on a Nikita Zadorov trade first, but the team could be in dangerous territory if Tanev subjects himself to the constant risk night in and night out.