By @MichaelCaples –
It went the distance, but Tomas Tatar and the Red Wings came to terms on a four-year contract Friday afternoon.
It saved both parties from an arbitrator making the decision for them, and now, the Wings’ No. 21 knows he’s staying in Hockeytown for another four seasons.
“Obviously I really, really wanted to stay,” Tatar said Friday just shortly after signing a deal that will pay him $5.3 million per season. “Detroit is where I belong. I love it here. I have so many friends, the fans are awesome, I have a great relationship with the guys in the locker room. It would be really, really hard, it would be frustrating to have a one-year deal and not knowing what would come in the future. I’m extremely happy and glad I could sign the deal.”
While the deal came together before an official ruling – an arbitration decision that would have meant only a one-year deal for Tatar – Tatar and the Wings were still going through the ucomfortable process of laying out their arguments for how much money the 26-year-old forward should make.
Tatar said it wasn’t the horrible experience one could imagine, however.
“Yeah, it’s really exciting we find a way to get the deal done,” Tatar said. “Obviously, it was a little stressful. I was not real happy that it went all the way there. We had a great relationship with Ken and the arbitration was not even close to as bad as people were picturing it to be. They were really nice, and we were always trying to find a way to sign the deal while we were waiting for the arbitrator, and I’m glad we did.”
“It’s a business, so in your view, you feel you’re the best player in the world, and then they try to find to show you’re not playing as good, but you have to listen with one ear in and one ear out. It’s a process, I understood from the start that in an arbitration room like that, and I tried to not think about it too much.”
He said he was glad to not play a 2017-18 campaign with his future uncertain.
“Of course, we talked about it with Ken and I think like a GM, you don’t have any other choice, you wouldn’t be signing, we would be going towards the trade deadline and it’s hard spot to be. I don’t know if the conversation would open again during the season or I don’t know, it’s hard to say what would follow. I’m really glad we did this deal and I can stay and compete here.”
Now, Tatar’s attention can shift to the upcoming season. The Wings’ second-round pick in 2009 is coming off a 46-point outing in 2016-17, and he’s working through a shoulder injury.
“I just saw the doctor on Saturday, and I saw Piet, the range of motion is full and I think there should not be any problems to be ready for the camp. When I’m working out or shooting pucks, I don’t feel any discomfort. I think we’re ahead of schedule, and I feel I will be healthy and ready for the season.”