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Tomas Tatar talks a little too toughly regarding contract turkey

I'm still trying to digest, never mind offer a summary of Tomas Jurco's massive interview with Hokej.sk (I love the fact that Jurco recongnizes that it's a "big deal" to be able to afford a car to drive around in the summer in Slovakia and a car to drive in the U.S., and that he feels that shouldn't go to his head), but I suppose I ought to post this now...

And there are times that I really want to bop Tomas Tatar on the head. The Red Wings will re-sign their restricted free agents-to-be (Danny DeKeyser, Riley Sheahan and Tatar) with little fanfare, and there are far more attractive RFA's on the marketplace this summer (please see: PK Subban, a chunk of the Bruins' roster and a chunk of the Rangers' roster), but Tatar talked a little too tough while speaking with Sport.sme.sk's Tomas Prokop.

What follows is a rough translation of Prokop's conversation with Tatar, and it's preceded by Tatar discussing his World Cup loyalties (Germany and also Germany):

Bigger chances with Detroit

The skilled winger will open the next season with an even greater opportunity in Detroit, which decided to not renew the contracts of severalr older players.

"There's definitely a bigger chance now. There's room for a more experienced player or two. I don't think the team will be built just for us [younger players], but there will be more space."

Tatar is waiting for negotiations for a new contract [to begin] in the next few days. The Red Wings retain his rights.

"On Friday we'll begin negotiating a contract. It's tough to talk about it. Detroit's my priority. I'd say that it's 90% that I'll stay there, only if a fantastic offer came from another team, that Detroit didn't want to match."

(The Wings would match anything short of a crazy $6 million offer)

Goal for the season is greater comfort

Tatar doesn't want to walk away from the famous team.

"Everything depends on negotiations. I can't go below the price that a similar player in the league will have earned. But I like the team, and I'll settle there. It's all business, though, and the team could always replace me."

The national team forward wasn't surprised by the performance of Marian Gaborik, whose shot dominated the NHL's playoffs. "Marian is still a great shooter. He's had a little trouble with injuries, but it's not surprising, it shows what a quality player he is. It helped that he had good teammates and that the Kings' offense was stable around him."

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Comments

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I guess he knows Holland’s low balling tendencies all too well.

Posted by George0211 on 06/23/14 at 02:02 PM ET

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Tatar is waiting to see how the Wings treat Dan Cleary because that is the barometer to every Wing re-signing, how management treats the washed up vets, don’t believe me?  Just listen to most Wings fans who think that everyone wants to play here because of how the Wings play favorites.

Posted by bababooey on 06/23/14 at 02:30 PM ET

Primis's avatar

He’s not talking too toughly, George.  He scored 19G in 73 games as for all intents and purposes as a rookie regardless of being all of 1 or 2 games past Calder eligibility.  He’s not raw potential anymore.

You can’t “over-ripen” your kids in the AHL and then still want to pay them like you would have if they were 2 or 3 years younger.

Posted by Primis on 06/23/14 at 02:33 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

Tatar can’t be “low-balled”—at his age, he’s got to receive at least a 10% wage increase, and I’m sure the Wings want to lock him up. He’s going to get his money.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 06/23/14 at 02:35 PM ET

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I think Tommy T is hoping for $3.0- $3.5. My guess? He gets a two-year deal at $3M per. Bridge deal. If he scores 25+ each year, he’ll get $5M+ next deal.

Posted by VitoLambruski on 06/23/14 at 02:45 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

I read a suggestion that the Wings might need to spend $9 million to lock up DeKeyser, Tatar and Sheahan. I thought about it for a minute and thought, “Well, actually, that’s very reasonable.”

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 06/23/14 at 02:49 PM ET

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I can’t go below the price that a similar player in the league will have earned.

Is that what you consider tough talk?  If so, someone ought to bop you on the head.  It seems entirely reasonable to me.

Posted by jkm2011 on 06/23/14 at 02:54 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

I don’t think it’s unreasonable at all. And I think all you want to do is bop me and Paul on the head. Is that your “IRL” job?

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 06/23/14 at 02:58 PM ET

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I made a comment to that effect as a “worst-case-scenario.”  I had in mind past contracts certain players have had, as well as current contract—e.g., the Detroit “salary structure.”

1)  I think DeKeyser can very reasonably ask for Ericsson’s old deal (3 years at $3.25M).  I would hope Holland bargains that down a bit, but we’re looking at something between that and Kindl’s current deal at $2.4M. 

2)  I agree with Vito that Tatar is probably thinking $3-3.5M.  I think Holland could reasonably seek $2.5M, or the $2.6M average cap hit deal that Zetterberg once had. 

3) I think Sheahan had a great year, but Holland can very reasonably say he shouldn’t expect more than Darren Helm ($2.1M). 

I think $7M would be a coup for retaining all three, and $9M reasonable but not the sign of successful negotiations.  More than $9M, someone’s probabky being overpaid.

Posted by captaineclectic on 06/23/14 at 02:59 PM ET

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Well, Filppula got a 5 year 15 mil deal under a then-50 mil cap for producing roughly the same amount as Tatar did, but Fil played center and was wildly better defensively then, too.

Indexing a 2ish mil a year deal under that old cap to a 65 mil cap now you end up with 2.6ish mil for a multi-year bridge contract that eats into Tatar’s first couple UFA years.

That seems like a fair deal to me.  2.6ish per for 4+.  Dekeyser slots in at 3.75-4 (under E).  Sheahan… I’m thinking more like a Abdelkdaer contract, tops. 1.5ish per.

And honestly, if the team didn’t bridge Sheahan I wouldn’t mind too much.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 06/23/14 at 03:01 PM ET

SK77's avatar

Just you, George, like 10% of the time. Paul is right 100% of the time.

All joking aside, this is one of those times where it seems like you over read into something and we’re all a little baffled. Tatar seems 110% on-point with his comments and interpretation of the situation at hand.

Posted by SK77 on 06/23/14 at 03:01 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

Ha ha, Paul says that’s the reason he doesn’t make many comments—fewer comments = less head-bopping wink

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 06/23/14 at 03:03 PM ET

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I don’t think it’s unreasonable at all.

It’s not a big deal, George… but you sensationalized the headline some.  It’s not the end of humanity or anything.  Don’t go all Al Swearengen.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 06/23/14 at 03:12 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

Fair point, good sir.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 06/23/14 at 03:18 PM ET

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The Filppula/Ericsson comparables are tricky.  Filppula had 191 games under his belt and Ericsson 200 when they got the deals being mentioned whereas Tatar and DeKeyser have 96 and 83 respectively.  On the other hand, those deals were done under much lower caps…

Sheahan though, I still don’t think he gets more than $1.5M.

And here I was, thinking that the three could be inked for around $5M.

Posted by Garth on 06/23/14 at 03:24 PM ET

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And here I was, thinking that the three could be inked for around $5M.

Posted by Garth on 06/23/14 at 04:24 PM ET

Seriously? By my count, it looks like it’ll be in the neighborhood of $8M. Sheahan doesn’t have enough track record to get anything major. My guess is he’ll take a third year at a lower rate than he could get for two (maybe $250K less per). He’ll get 3 @ $1.5M rather than 2 @ $1.75. Or maybe he gets 3 @ $1.75M rather than 2 @ $2M.

Tatar will get 2 @ $3 - 3.25M or 3 @ $2.75M.

DeKeyser gets 3 @ $3.5M or 4 @ $3.25 - 3.4M. I could see the Wings throw him a fifth year, for the right price. i think they’re sold on him, no doubt.

Tatar, I think in a perfect world, they don’t have both Nyquist and Tatar. I just believe the team just isn’t crazy about having two small forwards - and I think they’re less crazy about Tatar than Nyquist.

I have a gut feeling Tatar will get moved by the start of 2015-2016. Just a hunch.

Anyways, the topic at hand - my math comes up to $7.5M - 8.75M.

Posted by VitoLambruski on 06/23/14 at 03:46 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

I was positively convinced that Gustav Nyquist was going to pull down at least $2M last season when he was an RFA.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see the trio hit at $9M or so because it seems reasonable, but artificially limiting players’ earnings potentials via RFA isn’t a reasonable system.

It also doesn’t help Tatar and Sheahan that they’re not arbitration-eligible yet either (Dekeyser is).  That Filppula contract above was arbitration-granted. Ken Holland said at the time that he didn’t want to give Filppula that much.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 06/23/14 at 03:46 PM ET

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Tatar, I think in a perfect world, they don’t have both Nyquist and Tatar. I just believe the team just isn’t crazy about having two small forwards - and I think they’re less crazy about Tatar than Nyquist.

I hear you.  This feeds into my points elsewhere about the prudence of spending a lot on Alfie—with possibly Weiss moving back into the lineup that is 4 undersized middle-six kinda forwards behind the already-not-big Zetterberg and Datsyuk and the deceptively-large (not a compliment) Franzen.

Fortunately we have Jurco, Sheahan, and, in the pipeline, Mantha, who’ve got both size and scoring upside.  Over the next few years the forward lineup will get bigger and meaner, and during that period Tatar may become tradable.  I think he could be traded now, frankly, but we’d have to get a lot for him.

Posted by captaineclectic on 06/23/14 at 04:01 PM ET

bigdee89's avatar

I’d say that it’s 90% that I’ll stay there, only if a fantastic offer came from another team, that Detroit didn’t want to match.”

I don’t know, to me it sounds like he’s making it public he would bite on a lucrative offer from another team.  I don’t like this one bit.  Hopefully it’s a translation thing but it sounds like money will sway where his loyalties lie. 

Not really great to hear from your teams players.

Posted by bigdee89 from The Great White North Eh? on 06/23/14 at 04:58 PM ET

RWBill's avatar

So what’s the too tough part??  It reads like a spot on take by Tatar.

Posted by RWBill from Brush Street cruising with Super Creepy Rob Lowe. on 06/23/14 at 05:32 PM ET

RWBill's avatar

he would bite on a lucrative offer from another team.  I don’t like this one bit.
Not really great to hear from your teams players.

Posted by bigdee89 from The Great White North Eh? on 06/23/14 at 05:58 PM ET

And you wouldn’t?

Tatar isn’t a weak sister either, and doesn’t play like a “small forward”, he’s got great leg strength to go with his low center of gravity and battles on the puck relentlessly.  It would be quite grim to lose him, he’s a key component to this youth movement.  If some team did make him a too-rich offer the Wings would get a very good draft pick in compensation.

Posted by RWBill from Brush Street cruising with Super Creepy Rob Lowe. on 06/23/14 at 05:39 PM ET

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Hopefully it’s a translation thing but it sounds like money will sway where his loyalties lie.

Two things:

1) there’s a difference between loyalty and stupidity.  If he feels like Detroit is lowballing him and, say, Edmonton gives him a gargantuan offer sheet he’d be dumb not to take it.  It’s not like he’d be leaving a proven contender, Detroit is a mediocre teamm.
2) Loyalty is a two0way street.  Along with Nyquist, Tatar was a big big reason Detroit made the playoffs, AND he started out on the bench because Mike Babcock got bopped on the head and forgot that Samuelsson is awful.  If take his importance to the team last year, losing out to a shitty vet and the possibility of him being lowballed and I’d say it’s pretty difficult to see where the organizations loyalties are.

Having said that, as JJ mentioned he doesn’t have arbitration rights, AND he hasn’t yet even played 100 games in the NHL, so he doesn’t have a huge amount of room to take any kind of stand.

Posted by Garth on 06/23/14 at 05:51 PM ET

Mistercristo's avatar

He sounds like he’s tired of being Jurco-ed around.

Posted by Mistercristo from Cameron Frye's garage, circa 1987 on 06/23/14 at 06:22 PM ET

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This was OK compared to the interview he gave last summer after Cleary was signed (Tatar did not like that signing one bit and talked about a possibility to go to KHL). Listening to Tatar, he is pretty cocky, but he is making something out of nothing on almost every shift, absolute joy to watch on the ice. And sometimes on a team where every player is a “perfect” human being, maybe it’s OK to have some guys with an edge.

Posted by VPalmer on 06/23/14 at 08:15 PM ET

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read a suggestion that the Wings might need to spend $9 million to lock up DeKeyser, Tatar and Sheahan

If that’s the case, hopefully those will be at least 4 year deals.

Posted by VPalmer on 06/23/14 at 08:16 PM ET

Primis's avatar

Just imagine how ugly the comments will be from guys like Jurco, Nyquist, Pulkkinen, and Tatar when Cleary is re-signed YET AGAIN…

Posted by Primis on 06/23/14 at 09:01 PM ET

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And there are times that I really want to bop Tomas Tatar on the head

For what? Being honest?

Posted by Captain Bob on 06/23/14 at 09:09 PM ET

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Tatar can’t be “low-balled”—at his age, he’s got to receive at least a 10% wage increase, and I’m sure the Wings want to lock him up. He’s going to get his money.

A 10 percent wage increase would be a massive low ball offer. He’s likely looking at a 200 percent or more increase.

Posted by Captain Bob on 06/23/14 at 09:15 PM ET

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Just imagine how ugly the comments will be from guys like Jurco, Nyquist, Pulkkinen, and Tatar when Cleary is re-signed YET AGAIN…

I am all for loyalty, but Cleary signing will be a really bad sign from just about every possible angle.

Posted by VPalmer on 06/23/14 at 09:30 PM ET

damndog's avatar

Tatar. WTF. Good thing his feet move as fast as his mouth.

Posted by damndog on 06/24/14 at 06:10 AM ET

Tracy from T-Town Hockey 's avatar

I give Tatar credit in that he’s honest almost to a fault.  He should probably learn though that it is better to let some things go unsaid in the media.  Yes his statements are spot on, but did they need to be said by anyone other than his agent durring negotiations?  Probably not.  That’s just how he is with the media.  You can seldom win; either you say to much (Tatar), or not enough (Franzen.)  Either way someone will be upset with what you said/didn’t say.

Posted by Tracy from T-Town Hockey on 06/24/14 at 11:39 AM ET

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Only people the slightest bit upset with Tatar’s comments are people who’ve constructed fantastic alternative realities where everything as rosy and wonderful in the Red Wings universe.

Posted by Captain Bob on 06/24/14 at 01:45 PM ET

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Posted by Captain Bob on 06/24/14 at 02:45 PM ET

What the *#$%@& are you nattering on about?

Posted by Garth on 06/24/14 at 06:54 PM ET

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What the *#$%@& are you nattering on about?

George and whoever else think Tatar deserves a “bop in the head” for anything he said.

Posted by Captain Bob on 06/24/14 at 06:55 PM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.