Red Wings trade Tatar for three draft picks
Just a few years ago, the Red Wings had hoped that Tomas Tatar and Petr Mrazek would be key players who would help them continue their run as one of the NHL’s elite teams.
Now, after Detroit’s 25-season playoff streak ended in 2016-17 and with a playoff berth this spring very unlikely, Tatar and Mrazek are both gone, dealt for draft picks in the Wings’ rebuilding efforts.
Tatar was traded to the Las Vegas Golden Knights for three draft picks. The deal, made before Monday’s 3 p.m. deadline, comes a week after Mrazek was dealt to the Philadelphia Flyers for two conditional draft picks.
Tatar, 27 and a left wing, led the Red Wings with 110 goals over the past five seasons. This season he was tied for second in goals with 16 and had 28 points. Expansion Las Vegas, first in the Pacific Division, sent Detroit a first-round pick in this year’s NHL draft, a second-round pick in the 2019 draft and a third-round pick in 2021 in return for Tatar.
The Wings now have at least 11 picks in the 2018 draft: Two in the first, second, third and sixth rounds each, and one in the third, fourth and seventh rounds. They also have a conditional third-round choice.
“As I look towards ’18-19,” Detroit general manager Ken Holland told www.mlive.com, “ I thought we had a lot of wingers competing for spots – Tatar, (Gustav) Nyquist, (Andreas) Athanasiou, (Anthony) Mantha, (Justin) Abdelkader, (Luke) Glendening, (Darren) Helm,” and Tyler Bertuzzi and Martin Frk.
He also named Evgeny Svechnikoff, the team’s top pick in 2015, and Michael Rasmussen, the 2017. “He’s a center,” Holland said of Rasmussen, “but he might have to start out on the wing.
“Certainly we had a lot of wingers, and this was an opportunity to acquire some picks to build for the future. Our goal is to build a team that can contend for the Stanley Cup, and it’s going to have to happen through the draft.”
Mrazek, 26, was considered to be the team’s goalie of the future and had a spectacular six-week run during the middle of the 2015-16 season when he supplanted Jimmy Howard as Detroit’s No. 1 goaltender. But since the middle of February that season, Mrazek had been inconsistent.
Philadelphia sent a conditional fourth-round pick in 2018 and a conditional third-round pick in 2019 for Mrazek after losing goaltenders Brian Elliott and Michal Neuvirth (a former Plymouth Whaler) to injury the previous week.
Veteran Wings defenseman Mike Green was considered a trade target, but he has missed the last five games with a neck injury, which hampered efforts to make a deal.
According to published reports, the Red Wings have told Green – who is in the final season of a three-year, $18 million contract – that they want to re-sign him for next season.