Tanner Kero

Hometown:

Hancock Michigan

Currently Playing In:

Pro

Birthday:

1992-07-24

Position:

C

Eligible for draft:

2010

Shoots:

Left

Drafted:

Height:

6-0

Acquired:

Signed as free agent, 2015

Weight:

185 lbs.

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History

2008-09: Tanner Kero played for Hancock High School in the upper peninsula of Michigan and skated for the Ojibwa Eagles midget AAA team.

2009-10: Kero skated for the Marquette Rangers and was named the NAHL’s rookie of the year after leading the league with 32 goals in 57 regular season games. He had 19 assists and was +9 with 39 penalty minutes. Marquette finished second in the North Division before being swept by Motor City in a best-of-five first round series. Kero scored 1 goal and was -4 in three playoff games. He committed to playing college hockey at Michigan Tech in 2011-12 in December 2009 and was selected by Fargo in the first round (13th overall) in the 2010 USHL Entry Draft.

2010-11: Kero was the third-leading scorer for the Fargo Force behind Jimmy Mullin (Tampa Bay) and Air Force Academy recruit Chad Demers in his first USHL season. He scored 14 goals with 23 assists and was +11 with 22 penalty minutes in 55 regular season games. Fargo finished fifth in the Western Conference, defeating Lincoln in a preliminary series before falling to eventual Clark Cup champion Dubuque. Kero scored 1 goal and was -1 with 2 penalty minutes in five playoff games.

2011-12: Kero skated in all 39 games for Michigan Tech as a freshman. He scored 9 goals with 7 assists and was -1 with 14 penalty minutes. After winning a total of 15 games in the previous three seasons, the Huskies finished eighth in the WCHA, winning 16 games (the most since 2006-07). Michigan Tech knocked off Colorado College in the conference tournament before falling to Denver in overtime in a Final Five quarterfinal.

2012-13: Kero emerged as a scorer in his sophomore season and was one of six Michigan Tech forwards to register 20 or more points. Frequently teamed with left wing Blake Pietila (New Jersey), he scored 11 goals with 13 assists in 33 games — missing four games — and had an even plus/minus with 27 penalty minutes. Michigan Tech finished 10th in the WCHA and lost to North Dakota in a best-of-three first round series.

2013-14: Kero led Michigan Tech with 15 goals and was the Huskies’ third-leading scorer behind Alex Petan and Blake Pietila in his junior season. He had 10 assists and was -4 with 16 penalty minutes in 40 games. Michigan Tech finished fifth in the first year of the re-aligned WCHA; falling to Bowling Green in two games in a best-of-three conference quarterfinal series.

2014-15: Kero signed a two-year entry-level contract with the Blackhawks in April 2015 and made his pro hockey debut with the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs after being named the WCHA player of the year in his senior season at Michigan Tech. Kero scored 6 goals and was +3 with no penalties in his first eight games with Rockford, including two playoff contests. He led Michigan Tech in scoring with 20 goals and 26 assists and was +22 with 10 penalty minutes in 41 games. The Huskies were one of the nation’s top teams, winning 29 games for the first time since 1980-81. Michigan Tech finished second in the WCHA behind Minnesota State, receiving an at-large bid to the NCAA West Regional after falling to the Mavericks in the conference championship game. The Huskies lost to St. Cloud State, 3-2 in overtime, in a regional semifinal game.

Talent Analysis

Kero steadily developed as a prospect during his four-year career at Michigan Tech — emerging as an offensive threat and leading the Huskies in scoring as a senior. Slightly undersized, Kero has a high level of hockey intelligence and is adept at anticipating the plays and finding openings in the offensive zone. He is solid in his defensive responsibilities though his lack of bulk can be a disadvantage.

Future

Kero was pursued by several teams as an unrestricted free agent following his senior season at Michigan Tech — eventually signing a two-year entry-level contract with the Blackhawks in April 2015. He showed the ability to score goals during a late season cameo with Chicago AHL affiliate Rockford and will look to have the same success with the IceHogs in his first pro season in 2015-16 . Kero's offensive instincts and ability to read the game game suggest he can be a consistent scorer at the minor league level or in Europe. He must continue to develop his athleticism, strength and technical skills to have that same type of success in the NHL.

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