Tomas Tatar had been a fairly consistent secondary scorer in Detroit but struggled after being dealt at the trade deadline to Vegas. Which version of the Slovak winger will the Habs get?
Things were looking up for Tatar heading into the season. He had nearly doubled his previous contract while narrowly avoiding arbitration and seemed to be entrenched as a top-six winger in Detroit for the long haul. It went downhill from there, however.
As expected, the Red Wings didn’t exactly come flying out of the gate and were mired in mediocrity for most of the year. Part of the problem was a lack of consistency from their secondary players like Tatar and Gustav Nyquist and with Detroit staring at potential cap issues over the long haul, they opted to move Tatar to Vegas for quite a good return (first, second, and third rounders) at the trade deadline.
The Golden Knights were hoping that he’d round out their attack but that didn’t exactly happen. While he played in their remaining regular season games, he was quickly moved down the lineup and when the postseason came, he was viewed as an interchangeable part and played in just eight of their 20 playoff contests.
All in all, it was quite the fall from grace for Tatar. He went from someone viewed as a long-term core player to one who wasn’t needed very often in the playoffs. Needless to say, it wasn’t his best year.
Season Stats: 82 GP, 20 goals, 14 assists, 34 points, -19 rating, 34 PIMS, 9 PPG, 4 GWG, 174 shots, 16:16 ATOI, 50.6 CF%
Playoff Stats: 8 GP, 1 goal, 1 assist, 2 points, +1 rating, 2 PIMS, 0 PPG, 0 GWG, 7 shots, 12:25 ATOI
5 Year Averages
Unlike a lot of players we’ve covered so far, this one is really up in the air. Tatar could very well slot into Pacioretty’s spot on the top line and it wouldn’t be too surprising. I could also see a scenario where he’s behind Max Domi and potentially even Artturi Lehkonen (if he plays on the left side) and winds up on the second or third line as well. Chances are that with Claude Julien’s tendencies to tinker, he’ll spend some time on each trio.
Even though his five-on-five playing time will likely vary considerably, Tatar should be a staple on the power play. He has tallied 25 times with the man advantage over the past four years combined. For perspective, no other Hab forward has reached 20 in that span (Shea Weber checks in with 35 from the back end). As a result, not only should he be a regular with the man advantage, there’s a case to be made that he should be one of the focal points.
From a fantasy perspective, Tatar’s fortunes really changed with the trade. He’s going from a team where he still would have been in tough for quality minutes to one where he’s going to be one of their better offensive threats. That makes him much more valuable in pools than he was a week ago.
Given his penchant for streakiness, if you take him, be prepared for moments of frustration. In a points-based pool, he’s a relatively safe pick as long as you’re ready for the ebbs and flows. His role isn’t going to be marginalized like it was in Vegas so he’s a nice bounce-back candidate. He’s a riskier option in head-to-head leagues as there will be weeks where he has a big impact and others where you’d get more value from the waiver wire. Overall, he’s probably best served as a waiver wire candidate in 12-team leagues but becomes a good value late rounder with some upside in deeper pools that should get a small boost in ones that reward goals more than assists.