Report: Wings, Tatar $1.2M apart in contract talks

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News

Detroit — There definitely is a gap between what Tomas Tatar wants to get paid and what the Red Wings believe Tatar is worth.

Ahead of Thursday’s possible arbitration hearing, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman was the first to report that the two sides are $1.2 million apart in their asking prices.

Tatar is asking for a one-year deal worth $5.3 million, while the Red Wings are offering $4.1 million.

The two sides can continue to negotiate up until Thursday’s hearing — and most likely, they will come to an agreement, as rarely does the actual hearing take place given the potential for hard, lasting words being exchanged at the hearing.

In these cases, an arbitrator could settle on a salary that falls between the two figures. In this case, $4.7 million would be a natural mid-point.

The two sides have had little traction on a long-term deal, with both term and money being issues.

Tatar is looking for a six- or seven-year deal closer to $6 million annually, while the Red Wings are offering a five-year contract closer to $5 million annually (the money is bigger because years of the player being an unrestricted free agent are being wiped out).

Tatar told Slovakia’s last weekend he’d prefer to sign a long-term deal and stay in Detroit — but understands the entire process is a business, and he could be forced to leave the Red Wings.

“Detroit gave me a chance to start in the NHL,” said Tatar in the translated article. “I hope I can (wear a Red Wings) jersey ... Detroit is a great organization full of great people.

“Despite all the positives it is still a business ... The time will show. Everything is still quiet. It is still time to agree.”

Tatar said in an article last week that it likely would be his final season in Detroit if the two sides go to arbitration.

Tatar can become an unrestricted free agent next summer if the sides come to an agreement on a 1-year deal this week.

Tatar, 26, led the team with 25 goals last season, while earning $2.75 million. He’s scored at least 21 goals the past three seasons.

The Red Wings and goaltender Petr Mrazek worked out a two-year contract worth $8 million last summer in the final minutes before an arbitration hearing.