Tomas Tatar’s arbitration hearing took place this morning, at the conclusion of which the arbitrator was given 48 hours to reach a decision on his salary for next season. Tatar cannot be awarded a two-year contract through arbitration since he will reach unrestricted free agency next year, but as Craig Custance of The Athletic points out could still work out a long-term deal with the Red Wings before the decision come in. We saw a similar situation play out in 2014 with P.K. Subban, who had his hearing with the Montreal Canadiens before signing an eight-year contract a day later.
Last week it was reported the two sides were still quite a bit away in terms of an agreement, with Tatar turning down a five-year $25MM contract. While they may have worked closer to a deal, a one-year decision through arbitration would likely spell the forward’s end in Detroit. Tatar would immediately hit the trade block if he hadn’t already, with many teams likely after him as a rental piece as the season went on. If Ken Holland and the Red Wings didn’t think they could get a deal done, they would have to look long and hard at any proposals for Tatar that would improve the club long-term.
- The Syracuse Crunch have signed Reid McNeill to an AHL contract, taking him away from the St. Louis organization where he spent 2016-17 and adding him to the Tampa Bay Lightning affiliate. McNeill was a sixth-round pick of the Penguins in 2010, but has never been able to turn his size and defensive ability into a tryout at the NHL level. In 61 games last year split between the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and Chicago Wolves, he registered ten points.
- Dallas Stars beat writer Mike Heika of SportsDay held a Q&A with readers and answered all sorts of questions regarding the Stars and their big offseason moves. One of them revolved around R.J. Umberger, who has signed a professional tryout with the team after a full year away from the game. Heika believes the invitation to camp is more of a friendly opportunity handed out by Umberger’s former coach in Ken Hitchcock than a real tryout for the Stars this season. If Umberger can show he’s healthy and rejuvenated, a successful camp under a familiar system could look good around the league. Now 35, Umberger could potentially sign a one-year contract with performance bonuses, though those kinds of deals come with risks as well.
- The Montreal Canadiens have re-signed Yannick Veilleux on a two-way minor league deal. The contract will pay different amounts depending on whether Veilleux plays in the AHL or ECHL this season. Veilleux spent last year in the Montreal system bouncing between the two leagues, finding some success with St. John’s. Selected in the fourth round by the St. Louis Blues once upon a time, he’s still waiting for his first chance at the NHL level.
- The Calgary Flames will watch Eetu Tuulola return to Finland for the upcoming season, leaving the Everett Silvertips where he had played in 2016-17. Tuulola was a sixth-round pick of the Flames in 2016 and tried his hand in the Canadian junior ranks with 31 points in 62 games. He’ll play for HPK in Finland’s Liiga next year, a professional team that can offer a bit more development opportunity than Everett.