The New Jersey Devils have added another one of the top free agents available, this time signing Tomas Tatar to a two-year contract. The deal will come with an average annual value of $4.5MM, paying Tatar $3.75MM in 2021-22 and $5.25MM in 2022-23.
Tatar joins Dougie Hamilton and Jonathan Bernier as the three big veteran signings for the Devils this season, adding some experience to an incredibly young group. The 30-year-old Tatar is now the oldest forward signed to a one-way deal, nearly four years the senior of Andreas Johnsson, the second-oldest.
Even though he found himself on the outside of the playoff lineup in Montreal, Tatar is still a consistent offensive presence that should add a different dimension to the Devils forward group. In 50 games this season he registered 30 points and led the Canadiens in scoring during the 2019-20 season. That year he had a career-high 61 points in just 68 games, showing just how effective he can be in the right situation.
There are some doubts about how he affects the game in the defensive end, but there’s no doubt that he can help the Devils score next year. That’s something they had immense trouble accomplishing this year, as Pavel Zacha led the team with just 35 points. Tatar could represent an option on the wing of either Nico Hischier or Jack Hughes, giving them a little more experience and playmaking ability than they’re used to.
In fact, this looks like a bit of a steal by the Devils, jumping on a player whose market is a bit depressed from recent events. Tatar has been an incredibly consistent scoring threat over his career, breaking the 20-goal mark in six straight seasons before 2020-21. While his time in Montreal had obviously run out, his next chapter in New Jersey could be even more productive, given how much ice time–both at even-strength and on the powerplay–he’s likely to receive.
For the Devils, they could have paid Tatar $10MM this season and it wouldn’t have made much of an impact on their cap situation. The team has plenty to work with, and though there are several RFA deals to negotiate next summer, P.K. Subban’s $9MM is coming off the books. For a team with no cap issues, taking a shot on a player like Tatar is a no-brainer, given the fact they could just flip him down the road for more assets if the team is still not in a competitive window.
PuckPedia was first to report the contract details.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images
Goku the Knowledgable One
Hischier has potential to be top 10 player in the league this year.
Sheros made some solid additions, especially Dougie Hamilton in the first half of that deal
SHERO GOT FIRED 6 MONTHS AGO..
Dude Lou is really showing his age with these devils signings this year
He probably meant that Shero made these same solid additions on his Xbox.
@Binnington50 – Or, maybe his Commodore64! ;)
Mac, I mentioned Graviteh the other day, enclosed is link to his Rumor Mill and in depth NHL Stories , also Top Shelf Hockey are my favorites and recommendations
link to youtube.com
@G – Got those! Much appreciated!
This is a very underrated comment
@SpeakOfTheDevil – Horns Up!
Tatar is a good example of why I’m not a big fan of the analytics crowd. They love Tatar, yet he ends up in the press box with the last two teams he’s been on.
Good on him to get this contract though. Devils certainly have some spots open for scorers.
Hockey analytics are about 10% as useful as their proponents will have you believe, but most scouts will dice up Tatar, as well.
Skilled, but soft. Goes invisible when scoring get hard. Not exactly Guy Carboneau.
Tatar will fit in seemlessly with NJ’s endless army of passive left shot forwards. He might make it onto the Devils top PP unit and put up decent numbers again, though.