Vancouver Canucks defenceman Chris Tanev will never be confused with the Incredible Hulk or Montreal Canadiens wide-bodied defenceman Douglas Murray who is hockey's version of the fictional behemoth.

Tanev is tall and slim but at least he is no longer a total string bean. When he signed with the Canucks as an NCAA free agent three years ago Tanev was a featherweight “170 pounds or something.” Now he has worked his way up to middleweight status.

“I weighed in this year at 195 so I'm slowly climbing the ladder” the 23-year-old from Toronto said this week. “I think I can put on another five to 10 pounds but it's going to take a while. I'm still growing and still maturing. I think I am a young 23-year-old. I started developing later than most. But ha! There is not a chance I could ever be as big as Douglas Murray.”

Tanev's story has been well documented. He was a 5-2 runt in Grade 10 and playing high school hockey because he couldn't make a midget team. (No pun intended.) Now he's a 6-2 regular on the Canucks’ blue line with a one-way contract for $1.5 million. He had to wait all summer before signing Aug. 22 but never thought he wouldn't be back.

“I love it here and wanted to be here” he said. “I knew eventually something would be worked out although it obviously took a little longer than expected. It was the first time my contract was up and it was a little bit difficult.”

Now he is looking to move up the Canucks' blue-line depth chart. If the new coaching staff opts for three pairings of right shots and left shots the right-shooting Tanev could find himself in the top four behind veteran Kevin Bieksa but ahead of Yannick Weber and rookie Frank Corrado.

The extra weight to battle for pucks will certainly come in handy.

“Obviously you want to be moved up the depth chart but whether that happens or not is up to the coaches and how I play in the games” he noted. “Everyone wants to play against the other teams' best guys play more minutes and put up more points.”