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Tomas Tatar: still no contract or trial run
Unlike baseball in the MLB, free agents in the National Hockey League sign fairly quickly after the free-agent market opens.

At least, the big names available on the market don’t remain without a contract for weeks.

It’s very rare for that to happen.

Even so, some players remain strangely uncontracted for much longer than expected.

They still don’t have a contract, even though the next season is fast approaching.

This season, it’s the case of former Montreal Canadiens forward Tomas Tatar.

Surprisingly, the 32-year-old Slovak winger is still looking for a team for next season.

Tatar himself explained on August 11 that there was a lot of interest in him.

Is he really considering the various offers he’s received since the beginning?

I find that hard to believe.

NHL players generally like to have job security so they know where they’ll be living for the next year, so they don’t waste too much time deciding between different offers/teams.

In short, if you’d told me when the free-agent market opened on July 1 that Tomas Tatar still wouldn’t have signed a contract by September 3, I wouldn’t have believed you.

Well, here we are on September 3, and Tatar is still a free agent, without a contract or even a tryout.

It’s really quite bizarre, because in all honesty, Tatar is a solid field hockey player to have on your team.

He’s not the player who’s going to stand out the most, but on a third trio, even a second one, Tatar is an excellent option.

When you look at the advanced statistics, Tatar excels in virtually every aspect of his game.

The team that gets its hands on him will have a real bargain.

Because yes, at this point, no one expects Tatar to sign a contract for more than a year, if he does sign a contract of course.

We’re getting closer and closer to the possibility of Tatar only receiving a professional tryout, as was the case with Mike Hoffman with the St. Louis Blues two years ago.

The team that hires Tatar will have an advanced stats gem on its hands, as Tatar recorded the second-best expected goal differential of the advanced stats era with the New Jersey Devils.

And even forgetting the advanced stats, Tatar is a solid points producer.

Indeed, aside from a dip in 2021-2022 with just 15 goals and 30 points in 76 games, Tatar has been producing at an excellent pace for several seasons, especially when he was with the CH.

So what’s the problem with Tatar?

Well, as we all noted in Montreal, it’s the Slovak’s playoff performances that leave a lot to be desired.

Indeed, with the Habs, Tatar was one of the club’s best forwards during the season, and therefore one of those on whom the CH relied the most in terms of offensive production.

But by the playoffs, Tatar was becoming a ghost more often than not.

In 15 playoff games with the CH, Tatar scored two goals and one assist.

Clearly not enough for a guy who was considered one of the club’s best strikers.

And last season, even though Tatar was playing more of a support and depth forward role, one little goal and no assists in 12 playoff games is clearly not enough.

So, it’s understandable that playoff performances surely scare NHL teams, who decide not to take a chance on the Slovak winger.

Competitive teams don’t want a player who disappears in the playoffs, on the contrary.

In short, Tatar is likely to sign a contract, or rather a professional tryout, with a team that doesn’t necessarily aspire to the playoffs.

Another former Tricolore Slovak is also still without a contract.

I’m talking about 38-year-old goaltender Jaroslav Halak.

The Slovak had said on August 12 that he expected to sign a contract within the next two weeks.

If he doesn’t get an offer, Halak could possibly retire.

To be continued.

In a gust

– Summary of the week with the CH.

– He’ll be one to watch this season for the Leafs.

– That’s a good one.

– Read more.

– Ouch.

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