Detroit Red Wings forward Tomas Tatar filed for arbitration earlier this week, with the public intention of seeking at least upwards of $5 million per season over the course of a long-term deal. Though the two sides were expected to reach an agreement with relative ease, that apparently has not been the case.
For fans wanting to see Tatar in the Winged Wheel long term, Tatar's comments to a Slovakian website won't exactly be music to their ears. If the two sides aren't able to come to an agreement on a long-term contract, Tatar said that he would likely seek employment elsewhere.
“Detroit offered me a contract, and even with a few options — for a year, or four or five. We’re still talking about the length, and of course, the financial amount of the contract,” Tatar told website CSA.sk (translated in the Kukla's Korner blog). “However, we aren’t going anywhere, and there’s been time enough.”
“Arbitration is the last option, I have to sign off, it’s just a mandatory contract. Unless I agree with Detroit, I’ll go to the court (salary arbitration), where they’ll give me a year’s contract. That would probably be my last season in Detroit. We’ll see in a few days or weeks before it all comes together.”
The $5 million annual salary the Red Wings would like to have Tatar sign for is allegedly at least $1 million short of what his camp is seeking.
The restricted free-agent just finished a three-year contract that saw him receive $2.75 million a year. He has scored 75 goals during those three years (29, 21, 25 respectively per season), although he is prone to cool streaks.
Should the Red Wings and Tatar not be able to come to a long-term agreement and instead only come to a short arbitration deal, the team could dangle Tatar as trade bait at this year's NHL Trade Deadline. Last season, Detroit dealt away forwards Tomas Vanek and Steve Ott and defenseman Brendan Smith.
Tatar's arbitration date is scheduled for July 20.