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Tomas Tatar Arbitration Ask: $5.3M, Red Wings Offer: $4.1M

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Detroit Red Wings v Toronto Maple Leafs Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

As you can see from the headline, the arbitration positions of both Tomas Tatar and the Detroit Red Wings have been reported by Elliotte Friedman

Before we get into the next step, let me just take a second to say that one of these positions is surprising, and it’s not Detroit’s

Arbitrators in hockey will typically meet close to the middle of the two dollar amounts, so Detroit going lower than what Tatar is likely worth is not surprising in the least. It’s how this game is played.

Tatar’s ask, on the other hand, is a bit surprising.

In recent articles, Tatar has been reported to want around $6M for 6 to 7 years, while Detroit has been looking at something in the neighborhood of $5M for 5 years.

Tatar’s asking for 5.3 means that he knows he will get lower than that, and it wouldn’t be surprising for him to get lower than 5. I thought his ask would be at least 5.5, and would not have been surprised in the least to see him ask for six.

Here’s a detailed article about arbitration, but the short version is this:

The hearing is scheduled for Thursday, July 20th. The two sides can come to an agreement before the hearing, which is what often happens.

During the hearing, each side will present their case for why their dollar amount is the correct one. Because Tatar would be an unrestricted free agent next year, he can only receive a one-year deal if the arbitration process is completed because he is one year away from becoming a Group 3 UFA.

A decision will be made within 48 hours of the meeting, after which the team can walk away from the ruling, although why they would do that is beyond me.

Tatar’s asking price makes me think even more strongly than I had before that the term of the contract has been the sticking point.

I think that if Tatar does want to stay here, the team and he can work out a deal based on this report.

The alternative is if Tatar does not want to stay for whatever reason, his lower cap hit will make it easier for a team to acquire him at the deadline. Granted, since it will be an expiring contract, it won’t make that much of a difference if traded at the deadline. If traded earlier, it could make some difference.

I’m not saying I believe that, but it’s one possible explanation for a lower-than-anticipated ask from Tatar.

Regardless, Matt Cane’s projections have Tatar at $4.3M, and the team will always submit an offer lower than what they think the player is worth.