The New Jersey Devils made another significant addition this offseason by signing forward Tomas Tatar to a two-year contract worth $9 million on Thursday. That comes out to a salary cap hit of $4.5 million per season.
The Devils entered the offseason a ton of salary cap space and a need to add talent around their young core of Jack Hughes and Nico Hischier. Tatar joins defensemen Dougie Hamilton and Ryan Graves, as well as goalie Jonathan Bernier as key additions to the roster.
Hamilton is clearly the best of the new additions, but Tatar might be the most intriguing given his production and ability and the low cost to acquire him.
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Tatar was Montreal’s leading scorer the past three seasons and a key play driver during his time with the team, but he clearly fell out of favor with the coaching staff come playoff time. There seems to be a rather large disconnect between his production and actual play versus what NHL executives and coaches think of him. He also fell out of favor in Vegas during the playoffs after he was acquired during their first playoff run.
Despite that, he is still an incredibly effective player.
Over the past three seasons there have been more than 480 forwards that have logged at least 500 minutes of 5-on-5 ice time. Among that group Tatar ranks…
- Second in shot attempt share (59.4 percent)
- First in expected goal share (58.1 percent)
- First in scoring chance share (59.3 percent)
- 97th in goals per 60 minutes (0.85)
- 10th in assists per 60 minutes (1.64)
- 29th in primary assists per 60 minutes (0.92)
- 22nd in total points per 60 minutes (2.48)
Pretty much a top-line player. The Devils are getting him for a bargain rate.
The biggest concern might be the fact he did all of that the past three years as part of a line with Phillip Danaut and Brendan Gallagher, a trio that was one of the league’s most effective and impactful lines. Those two players will not be joining him in New Jersey. But even going back to Tatar’s Detroit days he has consistently been an outstanding possession-driver and 20-30 goal scorer.