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Offseason Shoulder Surgery The Latest “Why Tatar Was Bad” Theory

Don’t really care what the problem was last year, Tatar needs to be good this year. (Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

There have been a lot of excuses made for Tomas Tatar’s struggles after coming to Vegas in a trade just minutes before the deadline in February. The winger who had scored 19 or more goals in each of his previous four seasons only netted four in 20 games with the Golden Knights before finding himself a healthy scratch during a majority of the postseason.

The preeminent theory for Tatar’s decline was a lack of continuity in linemates.

It wasn’t fair to Tomas really. When we got him at the trade deadline we were trying to add depth to our hockey club and our team was playing so well at the time it was tough for him to get into the lineup. Here he is a 20 goal scorer who can play with any team in the NHL but the way our lines were going and the way our team was playing at that time it made it really tough to put him in a situation in which he could succeed. –Gerard Gallant on Technically Correct w/ Tyler Bischoff

In his first 14 games in Vegas, Tatar played with the same pair of players just once.

I think (consistency of linemates) is huge. He played some right wing when Reilly Smith was out, he played some left wing when James Neal was hurt so he was back and forth with the top three lines. He’s a guy that can play all over the place but he really never had any linemates where he could get comfortable with and that makes a big difference. -Gallant

However, there’s another theory, which was recently brought up by George McPhee on the VGK Insider Show on Fox Sports Radio that may make even more sense.

We believe Tatar will really play well for us next year once he gets comfortable. He had a tough year. He had shoulder surgery last summer and it affected his summer and it affected his season. He wants to come back and be that 20 to 25 goal guy for us. -George McPhee

Tatar has not missed a single game due to injury since he became a full-time NHLer, however, he has been battling a shoulder injury years. Following the 2016-17 season, the first in his NHL career in which he did not participate in the playoffs, Tatar opted to undergo surgery to repair his shoulder.

I’ve been battling with it. Now, we come to the end and it’s just hard to play with it. It’s been bothering me almost every game, so this way I don’t think it’s a big-of-a-deal surgery. –Tatar on 4/11/17 to Detroit Free Press

That surgery kept him off the ice for a majority of the summer and he wasn’t quite himself during training camp and the preseason in Detroit.

This offseason he should return to Golden Knights camp fully healthy and potentially be playing with Paul Stastny and Alex Tuch. Hopefully one of these excuses is legitimate because a sub-par Tatar leaves a massive hole in Vegas’ forward lines.


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  1. Brian

    Everyone dogs on him for not being a scoring threat when he’s on the ice, but this article kind of sheds some light as to why. McPhee knew what he was getting in the trade, but perhaps he saw his potential once he becomes 100% healthy

  2. What was Tatar’s +/- while in Vegas? Was it better than Perron and/or Neal?

  3. Keith Magnuson

    Come on, Ken. Pic needed of the Mexico souvenir skull, or it didn’t happen……. !!

  4. Bob Nokley

    I am good with having him and I bet he turns it around this year. It was disappointing end of last year. Did not know about the surgery last season, makes total,since. Great piece thanks.

  5. Bent Hermit

    That doesn’t say much for GM if he gave up all those picks for a guy that has a bad shoulder when he could of waited till the end of the season and got him cheaper. I think this points to Haula being the 3rd line center due to the fact that there’s no way Tatar gets 20+ goals with Eakin as center. The way GM talked in the interview he expects Tatar to get 20+ goals and that’s only going to happen if he has Stastny or Haula as center.

  6. Mike

    And all this time I thought we got him to help us win a Cup? Guess I shouldn’t have expected that because he had shoulder surgery last Spring.

    Would love to know what his goals against per 60 mins was? And while our second line was the “worst” in the league shouldn’t we look at “net” goals against? And isn’t that essentially +/-?

    • Keith Magnuson

      TT = 20 games played, 295:54 TOI.
      3.04 GF/60 and 3.85 GA/60 has all the info and details, and then some !!

  7. Keith Magnuson

    Oops, my bad. Meant
    Got too many browser windows open at once……!

  8. VgK4Life

    Well let’s hope he regains some consistency in his play that was lacking last season with us. The article does bring to light on why when teams turned physical against him, he was dumping the puck and going out of his way to avoid getting hit. At other times he just looked completely lost and slow footed. Let’s hope he does better, hes an expensive player to sit on the bench.

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