Traverse City — This time last year Tomas Tatar wasn't completely sure he'd be on the Red Wings.
There was the chance the Red Wings would expose Tatar to waivers and maybe he would find himself on another NHL team.
The Red Wings, of course, did keep Tatar. And they were rewarded with a 19-goal season and the look of a player who can do even better.
This training camp feels a lot different for Tatar, who earned a three-year contract worth $8.25 million over the summer.
"I feel much more different," said Tatar, who also went through a series of healthy scratches early last season, patiently awaiting his opportunity to play. "I tried to come to camp last season and get ready, battle for a spot, and I knew I could do that. I was confident in myself and with a little luck, and the help of my teammates, I made the team and I was happy to get the chance.
"I can tell you it wasn't easy to stay with it (early in the season). But guys helped me a lot. This group of guys is spectacular. Just to have them in the locker room and talking with them, I learned a lot and stayed with it and my chance came and I grabbed it."
Tatar found himself on a wing on a line with Pavel Datsyuk and Darren Helm during Friday's workouts.
Tatar's spot was originally held by Anthony Mantha, until the top prospect broke his right tibia earlier in the week.
"It was fun to be sure to be on the top line and I'm enjoying it," Tatar said. "He's (Datsyuk) the Magic Man. I just have to have to my stick on the ice and hope the puck will find me."
Back on the ice
Stephen Weiss took part in the intra-squad scrimmage, his first hockey action since January.
"I felt pretty good, I'm just happy to get back on the ice," Weiss said.
If Weiss can produce the type of offense he's done in Florida, it would be a needed boost for the Red Wings, who could keep Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg together.
"It's great to see him healthy and have an honest chance to show what he can do," Zetterberg said of watching Weiss play. "He's a great player, we all know that. He had a tough year but looks great out there and he'll have a good year for us.
"It gives us so many options, what we can do with our centermen, with our lines. We had a lot of different ideas last year on how we'd set up our lines. Then (Riley) Sheahan coming up and (Luke) Glendening playing good. Now having Weiss (healthy).
"We have a lot of different options for the top nine forwards."
Most players feel there will be fewer games decided by shootouts this season by way of the new rule stating teams will switch sides for the overtime — rather than keeping them on the same side as the third period .
"A lot of games will not go to the shootout," Zetterberg said. "If you have the 4-on-4 and the long change, you will get caught (on the change).
"There is so much more room 4-on-4. When you have the puck and the other team is tired, you'll get goals."