Originally posted on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 8/31/13
The hockey preseason is about two weeks away. If you didn’t realize that I understand, football season is here. I get it. But for those that did, don’t get too excited it’s still only the preseason, #IsItOctoberYet. Important season ahead for Thomas Tatar. (Photo Credit: Cory Morse / Mlive.com) It’s fair to say we have already been introduced to a majority of the young faces looking for more playing time this season due to all the injuries the Red Wings accumulated last year. But there is one key player that you should keep an eye on during these September exhibition games, Thomas Tatar. The Jack A. Butterfield trophy winner led the Griffins to the Calder Cup with 21 points (16 goals and 5 assists); confirming that the 22 year old Slovakian is one of the best prospects in the Wings Organization. Tatar is entering his fifth year in the league after being drafted in 2009 as the Red Wings 2nd round pick (60th overall). Most of that time was spent with the Griffins, but he has recorded 27 games with the Red Wings. Tatar’s stats over those games aren’t very impressive (5 goals, 3 assists, plus minus rating of +2) but he only received limited playing time at the bottom of the roster. This season that will all change as the Red Wings have to put Tatar on their NHL roster since he would need to pass through waivers in order to join the Griffins. There is no general manager in the NHL that would pass on picking up the reigning AHL playoffs MVP. The problem the Wings face is they have limited room on their roster to give Tatar a chance. He needs a solid spot in the rotation to make an impact and be effective, but more importantly to develop. The 3rd line with Joakim Andersson and Gustav Nquist is the most logical place to put Tatar for chemistry reasons as they all played on the same line back when they were Griffins. So, I would expect Tatar to start the season there. But when you fill out the rest of the lines… Zetterburg – Datsyuk – Abdelkader Franzen – Weiss – Alfredsson Nquist – Andersson – Tatar Miller – Helm – Bertuzzi You are left with Jordin Tootoo, Patrick Eaves, Cory Emerton, and Mikael Samuelsson without a spot. While having depth is great, I can easily see Tatar being shuffled out of the rotation and lost on the bench if he struggles. With Tootoo and Eaves waiting in the wings to take his spot, Tatar needs to perform right away. What makes Tatar’s situation unique is the signing of Alfredsson. Take Alfredsson out of the current picture and Bertuzzi moves up to the 2nd line, Tatar would stay at three, and Tootoo and Eaves would split time on the fourth line. These lines would make sure Tatar would get guaranteed playing time without the pressure that his spot was on the line. Whereas the current step-up screams “blow up” the third line for more experience if things go wrong. All of this could be nonsense though if Mike Babcock is willing to bench Bertuzzi to give Tootoo and Eaves opportunities now and then. I would prefer this method but one can only wonder what will happen if the inexperience third line can’t perform. Thomas Tatar could find himself a long season on the bench, and I will be the first person to point the blame towards the signing of Daniel Alfredsson. If Tatar does get pulled I just hope he isn’t forgotten about as it will hinder his long-term development.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
One Gotta Go: NFL Legends (and Jose Canseco!) Have No Love For Captain America
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

The NFL is thinking about eliminating the preseason

Romo expected to miss 6-10 weeks with broken bone in back

Kaepernick explains why he is protesting national anthem

Dwyane Wade’s cousin shot and killed in Chicago

NFL tries to reduce kick returns, promptly causes more kick returns

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

San Francisco Giants inching closer to a record they really don’t want

Clint Dempsey undergoing testing for irregular heartbeat

Troubling details emerge from Jeremy Jeffress' DWI arrest

Chargers would welcome Joey Bosa if he signed contract

Falcons rookie Keanu Neal needs surgery on knee

Jerry Jones unhappy with Ezekiel Elliott's dispensary visit

Heading into the homestretch: 2016 ROY favorites

Premier League notebook: The love affair at Man U

One Gotta Go: NFL legends talking comedians is no joke

It's all about timing: The evolution of the clock in sports

Predicting the unpredictable: Your MTV VMAs rundown

10 great moments in the career of Roberto Duran

Marshall’s first impression of Fitzpatrick: ‘He was terrible’

One Gotta Go: NFL legends bring the hate for fast food

What you need to know about the Champions League draw

Six worst quarterback situations in the NFL

Can the San Francisco Giants bust their teamwide slump?

A look at 2016 college football conference changes

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Premier League notebook: The love affair at Man U

Heading into the homestretch: 2016 ROY favorites

One Gotta Go: NFL legends talking comedians is no joke

It's all about timing: The evolution of the clock in sports

Predicting the unpredictable: Your MTV VMAs rundown

10 great moments in the career of Roberto Duran

The 20 best boxing movies of all time

One Gotta Go: NFL legends bring the hate for fast food

What you need to know about the Champions League draw

Can the San Francisco Giants bust their teamwide slump?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker