Kraken, Tomas Tatar

Kraken Trade For Tomas Tatar From Avalanche – Why He Matters

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There was a time when the Detroit Red Wings, as they attempted to continue their string of 25 consecutive seasons making the Stanley Cup playoffs, that Tomas Tatar and Gustav Nyquist were considered the next forwards to carry on the tradition of the “Winged Wheel”, assuming the responsibilities from Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk.

It looked particularly promising early on in their careers after both helped the affiliate Grand Rapids Griffins win the 2013 Calder Cup championship, with Tatar being named playoff most valuable player.

But with Detroit’s playoff string ending in 2017, a change of management on the horizon, and a full rebuild kicking in, eventually the Red Wings went a different direction with both players.

Nyquist didn’t show the work ethic, and despite three 20+ goal seasons, he was eventually moved to the San Jose Sharks in 2019 for a couple of picks.

Tatar didn’t last that long. Detroit jumped at a chance to get a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd-round pick from the Vegas Golden Knights at the trade deadline in 2018 as that club looked to add pieces for what would be their inaugural season run to the Stanley Cup Final.

Tatar became a reserve forward, inserted into eight playoff games for Vegas that spring, adding a goal and an assist after appearing in 20 regular season games for the club.

After being dealt to the Montreal Canadiens and later signing as a free agent with the New Jersey Devils and Colorado Avalanche, Tatar is now a Kraken, acquired from Colorado on Friday for a 2024 5th-round NHL Draft pick.

20 Goals, Seven Times

Aside from reaching the 20-goal mark three times early in his career with Detroit, Tatar also eclipsed that total four other seasons, twice with the Habs and once with the Devils. He also reached exactly 20 between two clubs in 2017-’18, the season he was moved at the deadline.

Despite some recent heroics from the 4th-line, the Kraken clearly need some scoring help. They pick up Tatar, who’s struggled in his first season with the Avalanche finding ice time, inexpensively. Handing out a 5th-round pick doesn’t exactly dent Seattle’s long-term plan of building through the draft.

With Andre Burakovsky remaining out of the line-up again and with the club announcing Jaden Schwartz being moved to long-term injured reserve on Friday, retroactive to November 28th when he was hurt in Chicago, a move to bolster the scoring depth became imminent.

In 27 games this season Tatar had one goal and eight assists. The 33-year-old Slovakian was likely looking for a change of scenery and he found it, while the Kraken hope they’ve found another goal scorer who can forecheck as they attempt to scramble back into a playoff spot.

The manoeuvre also serves as a try-out. Tatar is at a critical time in his career, on a one-year deal that’s paying him $1.5-million this season. He’s an unrestricted free agent at season’s end. A strong performance might give him a chance to stick around or sign a worthwhile deal elsewhere.

As it stands, Tatar is an emergency insertion, insurance policy with some potential late career upside.

Earlier Kraken:

— Some Day Kraken? Prospect Luke Melnik’s Life As A Hockey Nomad

— Kraken Morning After: Blackhawks Crushed, Big Challenge Awaits

Rob Simpson

Rob Simpson has covered the NHL in five different decades. He’s authored 4 books on hockey and is a veteran TV and radio play-by-play man and reporter.
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5 months ago

What a message this sends to the dressing room after two big wins! Francis is investing in this year’s team. Everyone expects him to have a fire sale at the trade deadline, but instead Francis trades for a veteran player. That’s the boss saying that he believes that the team who showed up against Chicago is who the Kraken actually are, not the team who blew eight games straight. This is the kind of thing that only a GM who used to wear a “C” would do. I love everything about this.

Yes, Tomas Tatar is past his prime, but he doesn’t have to come here and be a savior. He just has to be a smart, canny veteran who can help Beniers and McCann find enough ice to do their thing. He can play that role, I am sure, and if he gets back to the level of performance that he had at New Jersey, then that’s an extra added bonus.