On a day after watching the Red Wings get pasted by the Ottawa Senators to finish their third straight loss, it's hard to find a lot of things about which to be positive (other than we're all positive that everything sucks). Instead of dwelling on what's not working by filling up an entire list of things, I wanted to focus on something that gives me hope. Through three games in the Wings' lineup, Tomas Tatar hasn't completely wowed, scoring 0 points in that span, but he's played well enough to remain a roster regular.
Tatar hasn't been in the lineup for a win yet, but it's hardly fair to blame it on him. As a developing goal-scorer, you do want him to put up numbers, but right now it's more important that he simply play well and that's what he's done.
- In his first game against Boston on October 5th, the team played like a tired squad. Tatar wasn't overly impressive, but his energy and effort levels were noticeable, even if it meant he also looked like he was trying to do too much by himself.
- Monday against the Sharks in a thrilling 0-0 game, Tatar managed two of the Wings' 24 shots on goal by himself while seeing the Sharks' entire team only put two attempts on his goalie when he was on the ice (overall, his corsi in that game was +5). Considering his most-persistent center matchup in that game was Joe Pavelski, I'd call that a step in the right direction.
- Last night, Tatar was one of just three Wings players to avoid ending the night with a minus rating in a 6-1 loss. Another three shots on goal and what looked like a bit more aggression matched with better puck control made him one of the few bright points for the Wings in that loss.
Overall on the season, Tatar sees three of every five attempts on net fly towards his opposition while the teams are playing 5-on-5. Generally, he's facing third line competition and getting third-line-type support (although late in the Senators game, he played a few shifts alongside Pavel Datsyuk). He's not getting the benefit of a high amount of zone starts either. Tatar's PDO (essentially his "luck" score) is exactly at 1,000. So far, he hasn't been on the ice for a single goal by either team, so his team is shooting 0% with him on the ice while his goalie is saving 100% of shots. Neither of those figures will hold. As long as Tatar continues helping the Wings outshoot their opponents with him out there, things should go favorably for him.
The talk of roster moves is just about done to death by now as we're all in a holding pattern waiting for Ken Holland to eliminate the players which will make room for things like the return of Darren Helm and Patrick Eaves or the call-up of the Wings' other promising young forward, Gustav Nyquist.
While we wait for that, I think it's pretty clear so far that Tatar absolutely should be a roster regular.