Red Wings’ Tatar to undergo shoulder surgery
Detroit — Tomas Tatar isn’t headed to the World Championships this spring — he’s headed to the surgical ward.
Tatar will have shoulder surgery Thursday to repair damage that’s been bothering him for nearly two seasons.
“I’ve been battling with that and now we’ve come to the end,” Tatar said. “It’s just hard to play with it and it’s been bothering me for almost every game. This way, it’s not that big of a deal (in terms of) surgery, it’s pretty simple, and we have long period of days off now because we’re not in the playoffs.
“So it’s a good time to get it done and be ready for next season. I should be good for next season, hopefully everything goes as planned, and there will be no problems.”
General manager Ken Holland said rehabilitation for Tatar will likely take 4 to 6 months, which could take Tatar into training camp and possibly the start of the regular season in October.
The surgery could impact Tatar’s trade value, and possibly take away one of the few Red Wings’ bargaining chips.
Tatar is a restricted free agent, so his leverage isn’t great and a deal will likely be worked out between his side and the Red Wings.
“We’ll find a way to make a deal done,” Tatar said. “So far we haven’t talked about much, but I don’t see a problem there.”
As for a potential trade, as Tatar has now heard his name in the rumor mill for the last two offseasons?
“I’m not trying to really think about it,” Tatar said. “(This) feels like home to me. But I’m not afraid of change. I know it’s a business and if Kenny would like some deal (that’s) offered and he thinks he can help the team, obviously it can happen and I would just respect it.”
Tatar scored a team-high 25 goals, but 10 of them came over the last 17 games as it was mainly a tale of two halves — and the first half was disappointing.
“It’s so hard to talk about, it’s like the whole team didn’t start real good, we just didn’t play good enough,” Tatar said. “We just have to find a way to be good from the start all the way to the end.”
Goaltender Jimmy Howard had a much stronger overall season than last, but his future remains a bit murky — as it was last offseason.
With Howard and Petr Mrazek, the Red Wings have two quality, No. 1 caliber goaltenders and close to $10 million committed between the two players, which isn’t ideal for the salary cap.
The Red Wings can only protect one goaltender in June’s expansion draft, which will stock the new Vegas Golden Knights.
Could Howard see himself in Vegas next summer?
“No, I haven’t even thought about it,” Howard said with a grin. “We’ll have to wait and see.
“I don’t know what they (the Red Wings) have planned, I haven’t heard anything and it’s out of your control. I really haven’t thought about it.
“You don’t want to stress yourself out.”
Holland said all options will be explored in trade talks.
“When we submit our list (of protected players), we’re going to expose some players, and prior to that draft those players that I know we’ll expose or think we might expose or even ones we might protect, if there’s trading possibilities out there to make us better, we’re going to make it happen,” Holland said.
Howard said he’ll join Team USA — and coach Jeff Blashill, who’ll be head coach of the team — in the World Championships next month in Germany and France.
Forward Dylan Larkin will also play for the USA, while Mrazek will play for the Czech Republic.
Forward Justin Abdelkader said he’ll have an MRI on his knee this week, which likely will keep him from competing in the World Championships.
Abdelkader said there’s still some discomfort when he flexes his knee. Abdelkader missed 18 games in December-January because of the injury.
“It’s still not feeling 100 percent,” Abdelkader said. “I don’t know if I need some rest or we have to go in and get it scoped. We’ll know more this week.
“It hasn’t fully recovered.”
Andreas Athanasiou said he was disappointed not to play in the Joe Louis Arena finale Sunday but he wasn’t physically able due to a rib injury suffered in late March in Carolina.
… Frans Nielsen, on the need for the Red Wings to be grittier next season: “You need it, you can’t skill your way through this league today, it’s too hard. We just have to bring a little more mean attitude sometimes and play harder.”