MONTREAL – It would have been perhaps the most telling sign that, when asked on Tuesday to think about two career seasons of which he is the author with the Montreal Canadiens, Tomas Tatar mainly highlighted the fact that he had been the beneficiary of agreeing so well with teammates Phillip Danault and Brendan Gallagher.
Of course, we understand that this is the most imaginable thing to say and that NHL players are generally allergic to patting their backs.
If Tatar doesn’t say it, we’ll do it: the fact that he has managed to score 47 goals and 119 points in 148 games since landing with the Canadiens in 2018 commerce that sent Max Pacioretty to the Vegas Golden Knights has just as much to do with his skill and determination as with any other factor.
But we won’t deny the unique point of view of the Tatars, who have formed in seven successful seasons with the Detroit Red Wings, 101 days of dysfunction with the Golden Knights and those two peak seasons with the Canadiens. There may not be a more qualified player to talk about the value of the fit than one who went from a great situation with the team that drafted him to one where nothing seemed to work after the Golden Knights traded first, second and third round to acquire it.
The fact that Tatar was able to immediately resuscitate his career alongside Danault and Gallagher after scoring only four goals and six points in 20 games and was a healthy scratch for all but eight games in the Vegas race to the final of the The 2018 Stanley Cup certainly strengthened the importance of suiting it. And this is particularly relevant at this point, as it is a fact that could ultimately determine how he approaches what is said to be the most lucrative opportunity of his career.
“To be honest, as I looked at different players and different teams, I began to realize more and more how important it was to adapt to the team and the system,” said a 29-year-old year away. to become an unrestricted free agent, said from his home in Slovakia.
“I’m probably having the best time of my life right now in Montreal. Since I got there, I really love our locker room and our team and our fans and it’s something I’m really excited to come back to. So I really appreciate it. The form – which I play with Phil and Gally – suits me perfectly, and I really like playing with the guys. And so far, it’s been really good for me. “
Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman talk to a lot of people in the hockey world, then tell the listeners everything they’ve heard and what they think.
Of course, there are many other factors to be taken into account by Tatar as he comes closer and closer to what could be his last opportunity to sign a well-paid long-term contract. It was going to be a complicated decision at first, but now the COVID-19 pandemic has turned it into a complete conundrum.
This is a most precarious position for any player right now, but especially for players who have finally achieved the status of coveted free agents; it’s unimaginable that the current season’s break, and the uncertainty surrounding a resumption of play in the near future, will have everything but a negative effect on hockey earnings and the salary cap in the future.
The problem of the first world, we know it, but it is nevertheless a problem. Under normal circumstances, a player like Tatar would tend to offer several long-term offers from different teams. But these are not normal circumstances, and the reality of a flat or waning cap doing something other than hurting players in the Tatar position is impossible to ignore.
“I don’t really know what’s going to happen in the future,” he said.
But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t think about it.
We imagine Canadians are thinking about it too.
While Montreal general manager Marc Bergevin decided it was worth the risk of not trading in Tatars by the February 24 deadline (when his value was at its highest and he was about to boasting of leaving Montreal in the summer of 2021), he must think that the Canadians have a chance to keep their best scorer even longer than the more season for which he was under contract.
And if Bergevin may have hoped to make Tatar stay beyond next season based on the quality of form, if he hoped to prevent him from reaching a deal that the Canadians would not be willing to give him, he perhaps it would be easier to do so with Tatar having even less confidence in what might be available to him in the open market.]
What Tatar knows only helps Bergevin’s cause, if that’s the case.
“We have become very good friends outside the rink,” said the Slovakian about Danault and Gallagher, who are also expecting unrestricted free agents in the summer of 2021, but the players are now considered to be key members of Canadians – and moving forward. “I think we are … from the first day I got here, we were talking about each role on the ice and how we can help each other be better, and the three of us listen to each other if anyone something to say and try to help each other on the ice.
“Phil is a great two-way center who plays on both sides of the ice, and Brendan is a great player around the net and a good goalscorer, so everyone has a role on the line. And I think we all try to play in all three areas on the ice, so I think we help each other a lot everywhere on the ice, which helps everyone on the line. I think when we are together we have a lot of fun, which is good. Hockey for us is fun and that should be the priority. “
Hockey wasn’t particularly fun for the Tatars in Vegas.
But as he said on Tuesday, “I really enjoyed hockey (in Montreal) from day one. “
The Canadiens’ coach Claude Julien placed Tatar with Danault and Gallagher from the start, and has kept him there most of the time, had played a huge role in this.
And if it is really the Tatar’s priority to continue having fun, the possibility of continuing his career alongside Danault and Gallagher could ultimately persuade him to stay with the Canadians beyond next season. The value of this famous product is probably higher now in the face of so many unknowns.