The Detroit Red Wings and Tomas Tatar have agreed terms on a new contract. The Slovakian winger, 26, has signed a four-year deal worth $5.3 million AAV, ensuring that he stays a part of the organisation for the foreseeable future. The deal also includes a varied no-trade clause (full during year two/most of year three, limited during year four).
The agreement signals a positive end to discussions, which at times seemed destined for a rather bitter end. The parties had entered salary arbitration on Thursday with both seeming to be a long way apart in terms of an acceptable deal. Tatar had reportedly rejected a $5 million, five-year deal earlier in the summer, seeking additional years and a salary closer to $6 million. They also went in to the hearing Thursday with Tatar requesting $5.3 million and Detroit offering closer to $4.1. Had the arbitrator made a ruling, the contract would have been limited to one year given that this is Tatar’s last year as a Restricted Free Agent. The player had reportedly told Slovakian news outlets that a one-year contract agreed in this way would signal his last year as a Red Wing.
Fortunately for all concerned, it hasn’t gone that far and Detroit can use Tatar as a cornerstone on which to start the rebuild (which is happening, regardless of how many times Ken Holland denies it). Although quite a ‘streaky’ player, Tatar has put up solid numbers since being drafted 60th overall by the Red Wings in the 2009 Draft. He has topped the 20-goal mark in three of his six seasons and led all Red Wings with 25 goals last season. He ranked third on the team in points with 46 and only Thomas Vanek (15.2%) had a better shooting percentage than Tatar (15.1%).
With his new deal signed, Tatar can get back to preparing for the new season, and one that could see him reach some personal career milestones:
- If he remains healthy, Tatar could play in his 400th career regular season game for the Red Wings (currently 345)
- Tatar needs one goal to reach 100 regular season goals.
- He needs five assists to reach 100 regular season assists.
- He is six points shy of reaching 200 career regular season points.
- Tatar currently has 49 points on the power play, one more would take him to 50.
Detroit still has work to do
With Tatar now signed, Detroit must focus their attention on signing another RFA in forward Andreas Athanasiou. The Tatar deal leaves them with just under $1 million cap space remaining – taking in to account Johan Franzen is on LTIR. One potential option for Detroit is a 48-hour buyout window that has opened as a result of Tatar electing to go to salary arbitration. The window is open from Today (Monday) and will close on Wednesday. Although they are unlikely to use it, the Red Wings could easily free up some cap space and a roster spot by buying out a contract during this window. The favorite for this would be defenseman Jonathan Ericsson. He is currently earning $4 million per season, and quite frankly it’s a contract that Detroit should get out of if they can. They have some good young options on the blue line, a fact they should give some serious consideration to.