About 11 months ago, Tomas Tatar was traded for the second time in a span of 5 months. After moving from Detroit to Vegas, he was sent to the Canadiens alongside Nick Suzuki (who was seen as the core piece of the trade) and a 2nd round pick in the 2019 draft in return for former Canadiens' captain, Max Pacioretty. Most experts were quick to say that Tatar was only a "throw-in" in that deal considering he had failed to establish himself as a regular with the Golden Knights and was even an healthy scratch during the playoffs. Apparently, no one cared that he got there right at the deadline when the chemistry of the team was already set and everyone already had their seat at the table.
Tatar showed up in Montreal with things to prove and did he ever! Straight from the start of training camp, he showed great chemistry with Philip Danault and Brendan Gallagher and just like that, he had found his line mates for the season (except for a few games here in there). While the line didn't boast any bona fide superstar, what it did have was three very hard workers who never took a shift off. When all was said and done, Tatar had averaged over 16 minutes of time on ice a night and produced 58 points, his best total in a single season, beating his previous personal best by 2 points.
While the Canadiens are in a sort of a reset (and I say sort of because if you're holding on to Weber and Price, you're not really resetting), it would be surprising to see them move Tatar. With a contract good for two more seasons at a reasonable $5.3 M per, it would be somewhat nonsensical to get rid of the 28 year old who can patrol both wings. Hornqvist, Palat and Slavin all had the same cap hit last year and produced 37,34 and 31 points. The Habs' number 90 cost $50 000 more than William Karlsson and cumulated 2 more points while playing two less games. Unlike Tuna though, Wild Bill was a free agent at the end of the season and the Knights managed to resigned him at a bargain price of $5.9 M a year. Most insider agreed that Karlsson could have had more than this and that he was a steal, why should the Habs move a player that's on an even better deal? Besides, both Carey Price and Shea Weber have made it clear that they would want to win sooner rather than later. Furthermore, it should also be mentioned that Tatar rapidly became a fan favorite and while this does not play a part in Bergevin's decisions, it's safe to assume that many fans would rather see Tatar stay put than sent packing for prospects. Starting with this guy:
What initially looked like a fan who had one too many playing up to the camera soon became an internet sensation and even Michel Lacroix now enjoys announcing points by Tomasssssss Tatarrrrrrrr. In the end, Tatar ended up taking up much more space than one would have thought in this line-up and that's A-OK with me.
Yes, I hear a lot of you saying "move him for prospects and picks!" Why? The guy is only 28 and the Habs do want to win in the near future. Besides, that prospect cupboard is looking pretty darn nice right now and while it is possible to win with youngsters, you do need a right balance with some experience thrown in and Tatar can be such a guy don't you think? Let me know if you'd personally like to keep this tuna or throw it back in the pond...