Vegas gambles on trade for Red Wings’ Tatar

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Whoa.

The Vegas Golden Knights came into 2017-18 with a clean slate. They’re gradually starting to make some long-term commitments, and the latest comes thanks to a trade for Tomas Tatar. The Detroit Red Wings, meanwhile, land one of the best packages of futures during a busy trade deadline.

The trade: Golden Knights receive Tatar for three significant picks. TSN’s Gord Miller reports that the Red Wings will receive a first, second, and third-rounder from Vegas. Miller adds that it’s likely a 2018 first-round pick, a 2019 second-rounder, and a 2021 third-rounder.

This post will be updated if specifics change or if there’s official confirmation.

Why the Golden Knights did it: For one thing, Vegas doesn’t have a ton of players under contract after 2017-18. Heading into this season, many believed that they’d be selling the likes of James Neal or David Perron.

Of course, that was before the Golden Knights became an instant success. They look like they’re going to win the Pacific Division by a large margin, and they might get the top seed in the West.

Tatar is currently on a three-year 20+ goal run, and he barely missed it with 19 in 2013-14. He’s likely to make it four in a row, as he’s at 16 as of now. Tatar is 27, and his $5.3 million cap hit runs through 2020-21. The Golden Knights aren’t renting here. Instead, they’re getting his remaining prime years, banking on that being more valuable than the picks they gave up.

To little surprise, Erik Karlsson‘s name seems to come up with these big deals, even as he remains in Ottawa.

Why the Red Wings made the trade: Look, some fans probably wanted the Red Wings to move more players out on the deadline. No doubt, it’s a little surprising they couldn’t find a deal for Mike Green, even if it meant settling.

This impressive return for Tatar really makes the deadline much easier to digest. For all we know, Detroit might not be competitive through a significant chunk of Tatar’s contract. Instead of paying for it, they get three significant pieces to help them rebuild. They’re also reportedly not retaining any salary in the swap.

Who won the trade?

The Red Wings embrace rebuild in at least one key case. Meanwhile, the Golden Knights embrace a far brighter present than expected while locking up Tatar for the future … a future with fewer draft picks.

Even with a Green trade, the Red Wings are really loading up, especially for the 2018 NHL Draft. Still, Vegas gets a useful forward who might benefit from a change of scenery, not to mention an attacking system.

MORE: PHT’s 2018 Trade Deadline Tracker.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.