Two down, one to go: Wings ink Tatar to three-year, $8.25M deal


The Detroit Red Wings went into this offseason needing to secure deals for three key restricted free agents.

On Monday, they locked down No. 2.

Detroit agreed to a three-year extension with forward Tomas Tatar, the club announced. Tatar, 23, is coming off a breakout campaign in which he posted career highs for games played (73), goals (19), assists (20) and points (39), all while averaging 14:21 TOI per game. Tatar then led all Detroit skaters with 19 shots on goal during an opening-round playoff loss to Boston (during which, it should be mentioned, he struggled, going scoreless with a minus-3 rating and a team-high eight PIM.)

UPDATE: Per TVA, Tatar signed for $8.25 million over the three years, good for an average annual cap hit of $2.75M — a really nice pay bump from the three-year entry-level deal he was playing on, which netted him $630,000 per.

Detroit’s second-round pick (60th overall) at the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, Tatar — along with Riley Sheahan and Danny DeKeyser — was one of the key RFAs Detroit needed to re-up with this summer. The Red Wings took care of Sheahan early, inking him to a two-year pact on July 1, and now need to turn their attention to DeKeyser.

Over the weekend, the 24-year-old defenseman said there would be “no problems” on reaching a new deal with the Wings, adding that his contractual status would be sorted out prior to training camp. DeKeyser is a key figure for Detroit; he’s the club’s best young defenseman and, despite missing significant time with a shoulder injury, racked up 23 points in 65 games while averaging 21:38 TOI last year.

Oilers get Kronwall’d – in more ways than one

Niklas Kronwall
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When someone gets clobbered by Niklas Kronwall, they get Kronwall’d.

(His detractors may insist that the definition require the words “dirty” or “illegal,” but that’s a debate for another day.)

It’s easy to get lost in those thunderous hits and forget that the  Swedish defenseman also brings some skill to the table.

He made a big impact – literally and figuratively – in Detroit’s 4-3 overtime win against the Edmonton Oilers on Friday.

First, the Kronwalling:

Next, Kronwall’s overtime-winner:

It hasn’t always been pretty, but the Red Wings are leaning on guys like Kronwall and Dylan Larkin to stick with it.

Tonight’s win extends their point streak to six games (4-0-2), with five of those contests going to overtime.

Dubinsky – Crosby’s nemesis – gets the last laugh on Friday

Sidney Crosby, Brandon Dubinsky

Brandon Dubinsky isn’t a household name like Sidney Crosby is, yet for all the hype that Crosby vs. Alex Ovechkin gets, Dubinsky is the sort of guy who truly rankles No. 87.

It’s been getting that spotlight since the Columbus Blue Jackets faced off against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a brisk playoff series, though it wouldn’t be surprising if the bad blood stemmed to Dubinsky’s days with New York.

To some, Dubinsky’s cross-check on Crosby will resonate far more than the end result of this game:

The bottom line is that he’ll get the last laugh, at least for now. (In-game, that moment merely drew a minor penalty.)

That’s because Dubinsky set up the overtime game-winner, and the cherry on the top of that spite sundae came with Crosby being on the ice when it happened:

They’re not just rubbing the Penguins the wrong way.

Even Dubinsky kind of sort of admits that he may have been in the wrong.


More and more, the Blue Jackets are looking like a nuisance … possibly one that will grind their way to an unlikely playoff berth. They improved to 8-4-0 in November after a disastrous 2-10-0 October.

In other words, there’s at least a chance that we may see these increasingly bitter rivals butt heads in another playoff series.

Eichel’s sweet snipe helps Sabres snap six-game skid

Jack Eichel
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The Buffalo Sabres probably deserved better during at least some chunks of their six-game skid, yet Jack Eichel swooped in on Friday to remind fans that there’s a light shining at the end of the tunnel.

You can watch his goal from tonight’s eventual 4-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes in the video above.

That’s not necessarily the absolute height of his on-ice magic, yet it clearly gave his team a lift:

Call this a healthy reminder that Eichel has the ability to change games, something Buffalo fans hope to get used to.

Report: Likely no suspension for Matt Beleskey’s hit on Derek Stepan

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Alain Vigneault went there in comparing Matt Beleskey‘s hit on Derek Stepan to the notorious check Aaron Rome delivered on Nathan Horton many moons ago, but the league seems to disagree.

While Rome sat through that memorable Stanley Cup Final between Boston and Vancouver, it sounds like Beleskey won’t face any further discipline, according to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.

In the unlikely event that anything changes, PHT will make note.

The next game between the Rangers and Bruins takes place at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 11. Will these bad feelings linger?