Wings deal Tatar to Knights for 1st-, 2nd-, 3rd-round picks
Detroit — It took until late in the afternoon, but the Red Wings finally pulled off a trade before Monday’s deadline.
It just might not have been the player everyone expected it would be.
They traded forward Tomas Tatar to the expansion Vegas Golden Knights in exchange for a 2018 first-round pick, 2019 second- round pick and 2021 third-round draft pick.
Vegas is an expansion team that is surprising the hockey world, leading the Western Conference.
The Golden Knights had a bushel of draft picks, and tapped into them to land Tatar.
Signed to a four-year contract last summer with an average cap hit for $5.3 million (the Red Wings aren’t retaining any salary), Tatar, 27, has been a streaky goal-scorer capable of getting on long, hot streaks and some long goal-scoring droughts.
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Tatar played in 62 games this season with 16 goals and 12 assists (28 points) with a minus-8 plus-minus rating.
Tatar scored a career-high 29 goals in 2014-15, but has never been able to approach that number again, scoring 21 the next season and 25 last season.
No Red Wings player has scored more goals than the 91 Tatar has scored in that span.
The player everyone felt the Red Wings would trade, defenseman Mike Green, went nowhere.
Green, 32, who will be an unrestricted free agent on July 1, has missed the last six games with a neck injury and hasn’t played since he was injured Feb. 15.
With many teams circling around defensemen Ryan McDonagh (traded to Tampa Bay) and Erik Karlsson (not traded) this deadline, Green became a fall-back option for many teams who viewed him as a luxury to some extent.
The uncertainty concerning Green’s injury didn’t help, either.
It’s not likely trading Tatar, who is tied for second on the team with 16 goals, will be a popular move within the Red Wings’ locker room.
Many players talked about hoping management would keep the roster together, given the Red Wings are only five points from a wild-card spot.
Tatar also is one of the more popular teammates on the roster, often joking and laughing in the locker room.
The Red Wings now have 11 draft picks in June’s entry draft.