RED WINGS ROSTER PREVIEW: TOMAS TATAR

Tomas Tatar is what hockey fans love to watch. He’s skilled, creative and full of passion. The best part of Tatar’s game is that being all these things, he produces, arguably better than anyone on the Wings.

He’s currently playing on the top line (imagine that!) on Team Europe at the World Cup, Team Europe that is about to face Canada in the finals. It’s amazing what happens to a team when you put the best players on the top line isn’t it……

PLAYER BIO

Tomas Tatar hails from Slovakia and spent his early days honing his craft there for HK Dubnica. It wasn’t really until the 2009 World Junior Championship in Ottawa where he really made a name for himself. He registered 7 Goals and 11 Points in just 7 games in Slovakia’s surprise run to the Bronze  medal game. The scrappy, highly skilled Slovak was not sneaking up on anyone now eventually getting drafted that June by the Red Wings with the 60th overall pick.

Tomas is still very much the same player he was then, he’s just now doing it successfully against the top players in the world. He’s also still got some very, very silky mitts.

LAST YEARS’ STATS

Tatar, like many Red Wings seen his production drop this past season. Also like many Red Wings this was more a result of his poor usage than his actual on ice play. However, he continued to be a possession monster.

tatarstatsadv

Despite his diminished ice time and spending the final month of the season on the third line, he continued to drive play heavily in the Wings favor. He consistently ranks among near the top of the league in shot attempts %. Tomas ranked 21st in the league in CF% and 3rd on the Wings behind only Datsyuk and Smith.

COMPARABLES

This category almost isn’t even fair to talk about. This upcoming season is his final year of his current contract where he’s earned 2.75 million per season. It would be very easy to cherry pick a boat load of awful players making similar/more cash, however to prove how good Tatar really is, let’s compare him to one of the better players in this price range.

tatarleo

I also chose this comparison because Leo is a Leaf and it’s fun to point out things where the Leafs are the weaker side. Like most hockey games. 

PROJECTION

Tatar has seemingly everything lining up for him to have a huge season. He’s in his prime, he continues to dominate both ends of the ice, he has the motivation of being in a contract year and he should have a capable centerman lining up with him in either Larkin or Nielsen.

However, he has a big thing going against him, the coaching staff. Last season he was terribly misused in just about every situation so there are two likely outcomes for this season.

  1. He finally is placed on the top line and given the ice time he deserves. He rewards this coaching decision by returning to the 60 point player he can be.

  2. He’s once again relegated to roughly 12 minutes of 5v5 ice time per game and continues to put up mediocre offensive numbers that leave the fans scratching their heads.

ALSO IN THIS SERIES

Roster Preview: Darren Helm

Roster Preview: Henrik Zetterberg 

Roster Preview: Riley Sheahan