2009 NHL Draft: Detroit Red Wings select Tomas Tatar in second round

The Detroit Red Wings took Tomas Tatar with their second pick in the second round (60th overall). He registered seven goals and eight assists with HK Zvolen in Slovakia. What really grabbed scouts attention was his shining performance in the 2009 World Junior Championship with seven goals and four assists in seven games (good to tie for 4th best in the tourney). TSN compares his style of play to Sergei Samsonov.

Quick Stats:

Born: December 1, 1990 (Ilava, Slovakia)

Position: Center (shoots left)

Size: 5-10, 165 lbs

Bonus: His favorite team is the Red Wings.

Detroit Free Press:

"World Juniors is where he got noticed and then we went over to Europe and watched him a lot," Nill said. "I saw him play in a Slovak men's league and he was very good over there. Didn't look out of place playing with men."

ISS:

“Tatar has long been known to be a tremendous scorer, but the WJC was his breakout party. Tatar has great hands and a tremendous shot. His ability to be in the right place at the right time is incredible. No player saw his 2009 draft stock rise higher then Tatar after this tournament.”

The Hockey News Draft Preview (print):

The biggest question facing NHL teams now is determining whether Tatar simply played the best two weeks of hockey in his life [for Slovakia during the WJC] or if he can bring that level of play on a consistent basis. Scouts are divided on that one.

"Was it situational success or is that what he does all the time?" said a scout. "I think he had a lot of situational success."

Another scout said his team's European staff watched Tatar in the Slovakian league playoffs and said he was every bit as good and courageous there as he was in the WJC.

"He made his own breaks at the world juniors and did the same in the men's league in the playoffs," another scout said. "He looks like one of those guys who's going to defy the odds."

Tatar was interviewed by a foreign publication, but a user at HFBoards translated for us so here's an excerpt that indicates his top choice was Detroit:

Q. You have mentioned that from NHL teams you like Detroit the most. Is it important to you that you are selected by the Red Wings?

A. It is not up to me. I’ll go where I’m drafted. From the interviews I have a feeling that the most interest for me is coming from the Los Angeles Kings. They said after the draft they would like me to come to camp and then stay in North America. I like hearing things like that.

Sports Forecaster:

Scouting Report: First served notice of his skill and desire at the 2009 WJC in Ottawa, where he augmented his draft stock immensely... was rated 14th among European skaters in Central Scouting's final rankings... in his first season in the Slovakia Extraliga, he produced 12 goals and 23 points in 61 games... has the speed and work ethic to eventually play a top-six forward role in the NHL... is undersized, so he must get stronger before heading to North America...

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