The Detroit Red Wings signed restricted free-agent Xavier Ouellet to a two-year contract extension earlier this week. Now, they’ve turned their attention to Tomas Tatar and Andreas Athanasiou.
Both Tatar and Athanasiou are restricted free-agents, and the former could possibly be headed towards arbitration if he and the Red Wings are unable to come to terms on a new deal by Wednesday.
According to the Detroit Free Press, Tatar is seeking a long term deal worth upwards of $5 million per season:
Negotiations with forward Tomas Tatar may not be as easy. Tatar is likely to file for arbitration unless a deal gets done by Wednesday. Tatar is looking for term and in the $5 million range. He ranks 31st in goals scored in the NHL over the past three seasons combined, with 75 goals in 245 games. Forward (and fellow restricted free-agent) Andreas Athanasiou does not have arbitration rights.
Tatar’s 75 goals in the last three seasons (29, 21, and 25 respectively) put him above the goal scoring production of NHL forwards like Patrick Marleau (San Jose), Matt Duchene (Colorado), and two-time Stanley Cup champion Phil Kessel (Pittsburgh).
His three-year contract with an annual salary of $2.75 million has expired, and he understandably will be seeking a significant pay increase. Though there have been times where he’s struggled offensively, Tatar has been Detroit’s most consistent goal scorer the past three seasons. Paying Tatar, along with getting Athanasiou signed, could very well put the Red Wings over the $75 million cap ceiling.
Tatar was drafted 60th overall in the 2nd round of the 2009 NHL Draft. Following the conclusion of the 2016-17 season, he underwent shoulder surgery to fix a lingering issue and hopes to be ready for the start of next season.
Meanwhile, because he doesn’t have salary arbitration rights, there is no official deadline to get Athanasiou signed. His agent Darren Ferris reported that he and GM Ken Holland are expected to resume negotiations shortly.
“Usually these guys, Group 2 without arbitration rights, take a little while,” he said on Monday. “We’ve been talking, which is a good thing.”