Tomas Tatar Leaves New Jersey Devils For Surprising Destination

The New Jersey Devils seem like they are set with their current roster. There are some spots that are open, but they have clear battles happening, and the loser will likely be on the opening night roster as an extra. Alexander Holtz is fighting for the third-line right-wing spot. Some other young players will fight for that, including former first-round pick Chase Stillman, but Holtz comes into training camp as the front-runner. Nolan Foote is the top candidate to replace Miles Wood, who left for the Colorado Avalanche in the offseason. Tyce Thompson, Tomas Nosek, and others won’t go down without a fight. Colin Miller and former second-overall pick in the NHL Draft Simon Nemec are going after that third-line right-handed defenseman job that opened up when Damon Severson was traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets.

That’s why it’s not that surprising that Tomas Tatar left the Devils. He was a free agent for a very long time. He finally found a landing spot, but it’s not where everyone expected.

First, let’s talk about Tatar’s impact on the Devils. There was a roar of excitement when he signed with the Devils in 2021. It was the final piece of a puzzle that included signing Dougie Hamilton, signing Jonathan Bernier, and trading for Ryan Graves. Tatar was the winger they needed to play next to Nico Hischier or Jack Hughes. The Devils were able to get Tatar for just two years because there were major questions surrounding his playoff performance. More on that later.

His first season was a disappointment. He only had 30 points despite playing 76 games. Something just didn’t click, and he finished ninth on the team in points. In Tatar’s second season in New Jersey, he was much better. Tatar was on the team’s best line with Nico Hischier and Jesper Bratt. He was a two-way force with his teammates. He was the third banana, but he played his role perfectly.

Of course, the playoffs were another utter disappointment. Now, Tatar has a reputation for shrinking in the playoffs, and that’s a problem for a team with Stanley Cup aspirations. At least, that’s what one would think.

The Colorado Avalanche announced today they signed Tatar to a one-year deal. It later came out that the deal is worth $1.5 million. That’s a very good price for a 20-goal scorer in today’s NHL. However, his playoff woes make it a risk for a team like Colorado.

Every rumor said the Pittsburgh Penguins were the frontrunners for Tatar’s services, but it clearly didn’t happen. Maybe this was something his former agent was working on, but Tatar switched agents right before this signing. He was looking for something specific, and he apparently got it.

Tatar will be missed. He was a good player for this franchise, but it wasn’t worth using a roster spot on a player who would cause a logjam. The Devils made the move for Tyler Toffoli and that spelled the end for Tatar in the Garden State. We wish him well in Colorado (unless they face the Devils in the Stanley Cup Final).