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Benching Tatar Bold But Correct Move By Gallant

Heavy haul for a healthy scratch (Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

On the day of the trade deadline, the Golden Knights sent three future draft picks, a 2018 1st, a 2019 2nd, and a 2021 3rd round pick, to the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for Tomas Tatar.

Tatar is a perennial 20 goal scorer, he’s got great speed, a good shot, and looked to be the perfect fit for the Golden Knights. Through 20 games with Vegas, that hasn’t exactly been the case, and now Tatar is set to be a healthy scratch in Game 3 of the first round of the playoffs.

The initial question is whether or not giving up three picks for a player that can’t crack the lineup was worth it. The answer is still incomplete, even with tonight’s benching, because Tatar wasn’t only added to help the Golden Knights for the 2018 playoff run. He has multiple years left on his contract and could still turn out to be a useful top six forward in Vegas.

However, part of the high price tag on Tatar at the deadline was getting him for this playoff season. McPhee traded Brendan Leipsic and figured he’d found an upgrade in Tatar. He hasn’t been. Instead, he’s been nothing more than a competent player who now can’t get in the lineup over a player Vegas claimed for free on the waiver wire back in December.

This is not a failure of a trade, yet, but it is a bold move that shows All Star head coach Gerard Gallant does indeed have full control over his lineup. He was handed a player that was supposed to be an upgrade, and his GM paid a massive price to get him, and yet Gallant still feels comfortable sitting him in the biggest situation of the year.

Here’s more good news, Tatar has never had consistent linemates. He should be better if/when that happens in the future. (Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

There is good news for the Golden Knights, and that’s depth. If Vegas continues in these playoffs they will encounter injuries, and likely at least one to a significant player. Having Tatar available to fill that void absolutely has value, the same goes for Ryan Reaves if a bottom six forward were to be forced out. However, it’s not a good look for McPhee who still has the Filip Forsberg for Martin Erat trade hanging over his head.

Time will tell on the trade as a whole, but this decision tells us a lot about the organization, including the most important part, Tomas Tatar is the 13th best forward on this roster on April 15th, and unless that changes it will go down as an avoidable disaster at the Golden Knights first trade deadline.


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  1. Sissipher Yoopers Simpson

    I thought Tatar made some good plays last game but is shooting the puck like shit. He is pressing to much. I think the benching will do him good. I was a Red Wings fan until this year. Once Tatar finds the net and is more aggressive, wanting to shoot, the goals come. He needs to get agressive and stop pressing.

  2. Jeff

    It’s really easy to say it was a failure. A month or so after the fact. Every single trade has the potential to be a home run or a failure. This could have and still may be a grand slam home run. It’s a little early to be grading this trade.

    • ROSANN

      I’m a fan of Tatar I agree he passes to often, one needs time on ice n a line to develope. He also has been good in power plays. I hope the best for him.

  3. Vgk4

    Tatar disappears comes playoff time. He did it in Detroit and is doing the same here. When the hits are happening he gets hammered and then dumps the puck as soon as he can. It’s early but so far he hasn’t brought anything.

  4. Joe

    I’d still like to see Perron reunited with Haula and Neal since they were so good during the year and a third line of Tuch-Eakin-Tatar. I don’t think there is anyone on LA’s bottom six that can go against that.

  5. Jim

    Let’s put this in context – the Knights absolutely SCHOOLED the league in their expansion draft strategy and coaching staff hires. With the salary cap, success in this league is all about acquiring young cheap and SPEEDY players, and COACHING them to quickly integrate and play an aggressive yet responsible style of hockey that focuses on minimizing turnovers and winning puck battles.

    That being said, the Tatar trade was one of the worst deadline deals that I ever saw. As a former Wings fan, Tatar is soft, consistently turns over the puck, and loses puck battles. And despite everything I’ve read, Tatar is NOT a fast skater – he is below average, with terrible acceleration. That, plus the draft picks surrendered, and the long-term contract Vegas is now stuck with make this trade a disaster.

  6. mark

    Thanks for the draft picks!

  7. Steve Yzerman

    All the “Wings fans” that were once “Wings fans” and not anymore, get outta here. You never were a Wings fan. Only a byproduct and a spin-off fan from their storied franchise. No diehard Wings fan, which we are, all of sudden aren’t Wings fans anymore. #Bums

  8. John Isaac

    It’s a failure and going the way the season has for Vegas if it’s the only thing they get wrong it won’t matter. You better get a GREAT player if you’re giving away that many quality picks.

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