Tomas Tatar and the Detroit Red Wings met in Toronto, presented their respective cases to an NHL arbitrator, but ended up not needing the final decision as the two sides came to terms yesterday on a four-year contract extension that will pay Tatar an average of $5.3 million per season.
“I’m really excited that we found a way to get the deal done,” Tatar said during a conference call late Friday afternoon. “It was a little stressful and I was not happy that it went all the way (to an arbitrator), but we had a great relationship in arbitration. They were really nice, and we were always trying to find a way to sign a deal without waiting for the arbitrator (to render a final decision) and I’m really glad we did.”
Negotiations leading up to the arbitration were fairly contentious, with Tatar looking for a long term deal (six to seven years) worth around $6 million a season. The Red Wings were hoping for a shorter term deal at closer to $5 million a season.
Tatar’s camp asked for $5.3 million in arbitration, while the Red Wings countered with $4.1 million hoping the arbitrator would meet in the middle around $5 million.
MLive.com reported that Tatar had previously rejected a Red Wings offer for a five-year deal worth $5 million per season.
Had the arbitrator rendered a decision, it would have been for a one-year contract. Tatar would be an unrestricted free agent next summer.
Reports also circulated that Tatar, in speaking with Slovakian website, said a one-year contract in Detroit would likely be his last with the team.
“Unless I agree with Detroit, I’ll go to the court (salary arbitration), where they’ll give me a year’s contract,” sad Tatar (translated by Kukla’s Korner). “That would probably be my last season in Detroit. We’ll see in a few days or weeks before it all comes together.”
Tatar is set to receive $4.875 million this coming season, $5.5 million for each of the following two seasons and $3.2 million for 2020-21. He also receives bonuses of $1.125 million in the first year and $1 million in the fourth year.
The 26-year-old Tatar, who earned $2.75 million in the 2016-17 season, led the Red Wings with 25 goals. He has paced all Red Wings in goals over the past three seasons with 75 and has tallied 147 points in 245 games.
By comparison, Gustav Nyquist, who signed a four-year contract at a cap hit of $4.75 million in 2015, has totaled 145 points in 240 games during that same stretch.