New Jersey Devils: Expect Much Better Things From Tomas Tatar

New Jersey Devils forward Tomas Tatar (90): Stephen Brashear-USA TODAY Sports
New Jersey Devils forward Tomas Tatar (90): Stephen Brashear-USA TODAY Sports /

The New Jersey Devils are expecting more from a lot of its roster. One player who has a chance to play much better is Tomas Tatar.

There are higher expectations for the New Jersey Devils this season. That’s not news to any fan. The Devils have failed to make a move in the standings for two-straight seasons, and the team spent a ton of money the past two offseasons to bolster the roster. They spent big money on Dougie Hamilton and Ondrej Palat. One move that’s fallen under the radar is the addition of Tomas Tatar.

There are two reasons for that. One, he was signed last offseason and he didn’t really step up last season. He had 30 points in 76 games. This was after he had 30 points in 50 games with the Montreal Canadiens the game before. He was benched for the postseason as the Habs made a run to the Stanley Cup Final.

Tomas Tatar needs to play better for the New Jersey Devils.

The Devils signed him to a two-year deal worth a total of $9 million. There was hope he was the forward to round out the top six. He was definitely given a chance. According to Natural Stat Trick, Tatar played more than 100 minutes with Jack Hughes and just under 300 minutes with Nico Hischier last season. He played 543 minutes without either of them.

That’s because there were clearly better options on the team to pair with the team’s top two centers. When he was with Hughes or Hischier, he was getting about the same amount of goals as goals were going against him. On his own, the numbers were dreadful. He had a 35% goals for percentage without Hughes and Hischier. He only was on the ice for 19 goals when Hughes or Hischier weren’t also on the ice. The other team scored 35 times in the same scenario.

Tatar has never been the model of consistency. He will have a good season or two, and then he would fall off. However, he always bounces back. He’s in the final year of his contract, and this could be his last chance to prove he’s an NHL player. It would be a wild fall from grace, but he could go from a $4.5 million player to a PTO if he doesn’t get it together.

Pucks And Pitchforks
Pucks And Pitchforks /

Want your voice heard? Join the Pucks And Pitchforks team!

Write for us!

The Devils will put Tatar in a place where his expectations are low. He’s likely going to be on the third line with Eric Haula. They can grow in their new role together. Jesper Boqvist might help as well. Tatar is going to have a better season. He had a career-low shooting percent of 11.4% last season. By sheer luck, he will score more goals. If he plays a little better and scores 20 goals this season, he will be in much better standing with the fanbase.