The Detroit Red Wings have been known for relying on aged veterans over the years, which is true even today, but there's a growing movement of youngsters that are pushing their way to more responsibility for the club. One of the most exciting members of that group of young pups is 23-year-old Tomas Tatar. The Red Wings just announced they have signed the restricted free agent forward to a new three year deal.
According to Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press, Tatar's deal comes with a $2.75 million annual average. That's an awfully reasonable deal for a budding forward. Not only that, but Tatar will still be a restricted free agent when the deal ends, giving the Red Wings a little bit of protection should Tatar progress rapidly over the life of this contract.
Tatar, a former second-round draft pick of the Red Wings, had 19 goals and 39 points in his first full season with the club. He appeared in 73 games after he made a total of 27 appearances over the previous two seasons combined.
Like most prospects in the Red Wings system, Tatar paid his dues in the AHL. He spent three full seasons and most of the lockout-marred 2012-13 season with the Grand Rapids Griffins. He was a top producer for the club and helped the Griffins to the Calder Cup title in 2013.
Tatar also had a splendid international campaign, making Slovakia's Olympic team and putting up eight points as a member of their World Championship squad last spring.
The young Slovakian has accomplished a lot over his brief professional career, but the best may be yet to come.
With Tatar locked up to a multi-year deal, the Red Wings can shift focus to getting a deal done with restricted free agent defenseman Danny DeKeyser, who also appears to figure prominently in the club's future. The Wings also will have to leave some room to sign Daniel Alfredsson, who is still reportedly mulling his future. It is expected he will sign with Detroit if he decides to return to play next season.
With a lot of the old guard getting older in Detroit, players like Tatar will have extreme value going forward and eventually could help lead the team into the next era of Red Wings hockey.