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Tatar has showed scoring touch everywhere

Thursday, 09.16.2010 / 3:27 PM ET / News
By Mike G. Morreale
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Tatar has showed scoring touch everywhere
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Tomas Tatar was quite the world traveler last season -- and in the end, he was one exhausted blue-chip prospect.
A 2009 second-round draft pick (No. 60) of the Red Wings, Tatar played 70 games in three countries during the 2009-10 season.
He endured his first season in North America, totaling 32 points in 58 games with Detroit's American Hockey League affiliate, the Grand Rapids Griffins. He had 5 points in six games for Slovakia at the 2010 World Junior Championship in Saskatoon, Sask., and represented his country again in the World Championships in Germany, where he scored 2 goals in six games.
"It was nice to play against NHL stars and I was happy the coach gave me a chance, but I was tired -- it was so tough for me," Tatar told

Tatar was the youngest player, and at 5-foot-11 certainly one of the shortest in the American Hockey League last season. But he had 21 points in his first 27 games before departing for the WJC, where he was second on the team with 3 goals.
"Last year it was my first year here and it was new for me," Tatar said. "I didn't speak really good English, so this year I worked hard over the summer (adding 10 pounds), so hopefully I show something new."
Tatar certainly appears to be comfortable strutting his stuff in the Traverse City NHL Prospects Tournament this week, leading the Wings with 3 goals, 4 points, eight shots and a plus-2 rating through three games. Last year, he finished with 3 goals, 5 points and a plus-5 rating in the five-day tournament.
The Red Wings will face the Minnesota Wild's prospects in the tournament final at 6 p.m. ET on Wednesday at Center Ice Arena.
"The thing is, I want to stay here in North America … I don't care if it's in the AHL or NHL, I just want to stay," Tatar said. "I was happy to make the team (in Grand Rapids), but the season was so tough. Hopefully I'm better prepared for this season because last year was such a long season. I played a lot, in World Juniors and World Championships."
Wings prospects coach Curt Fraser has used Tatar in just about every situation in Traverse City.
"He was the youngest player in the AHL last year and is so strong down low around the net that if you give this kid a chance, he'll make things happen," Fraser said. "Tommy continues to get better and better. He's a fantastic player on the ice, but even a better person off it. For a guy who couldn't speak a word of English last summer, he's the biggest joker in the room now."
Tatar, who was compared to playmaking forward Jiri Hudler by Red Wings coach Mike Babcock, feels he's better prepared for the AHL this season.
"The toughest thing in the AHL was that I wasn't strong like the guys," Tatar said. "They were like adults and I was still like a kid. But I worked over the summer and am more prepared for battling in the corners."
Wings Assistant General Manager Jim Nill feels there's no need to rush Tatar at this stage of his career.
"He came into the rookie tournament (last year) as one of our better players and thought he was ready to play in the AHL, but we were a little hesitant about it," Nill said. "We said, 'Go ahead and go down, and we'll watch you.' He could have played in Plymouth in the OHL last year. But we kept a close eye on him and he never missed a beat. He wasn't getting bounced around. You always worry that the young kids won't be able to hack it physically, but he had no trouble playing against men. We're very excited about him because we feel he's one of those players who brings a high end to him. We're hoping to see continued growth in his game."
With so much flair and potential, it's no wonder some other team would have snapped up Tatar prior to the final pick of the second round in 2009. After all, at the 2009 WJC in Ottawa, he had for 7 goals and 11 points in seven games for Slovakia, including a pair in a 5-3 upset of Team USA in the quarterfinals.
"My guess is, he was there for us in the second round because he was small," said Hakan Andersson, Detroit's director of European scouting. "I think everyone agrees he's a good hockey player, but he still is not very big. He looks good, though."
Tatar scoffs at the notion he's too small (5-foot-11, 176 pounds) to play the game.
"I think the one basic thing you can do, no matter your size, is score," he said. "I'm small, but in the NHL, small players like me have to work hard. You have to put some weight on your body, and I'm doing that. It's not bad to be small. I have different dangles and I know how to score, but the basic thing is working hard and preparing -- two things I'll continue to do."




1 MTL 1 1 0 0 3 1 2
2 OTT 1 1 0 0 3 1 2
3 NYR 1 1 0 0 3 2 2
4 TBL 1 1 0 0 3 2 2
5 PHI 1 0 0 1 2 3 1
6 CAR 1 0 1 0 1 2 0
7 TOR 1 0 1 0 1 3 0
8 BUF 1 0 1 0 1 3 0
9 PIT 1 0 1 0 0 3 0
10 BOS 1 0 1 0 2 6 0
11 CBJ 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
12 DET 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
13 FLA 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
14 NJD 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
15 NYI 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
16 WSH 0 0 0 0 0 0 0


H. Zetterberg 77 17 49 -6 66
P. Datsyuk 63 26 39 12 65
T. Tatar 82 29 27 6 56
G. Nyquist 82 27 27 -11 54
J. Abdelkader 71 23 21 3 44
N. Kronwall 80 9 35 -4 44
R. Sheahan 79 13 23 -3 36
D. Helm 75 15 18 7 33
D. DeKeyser 80 2 29 11 31
S. Weiss 52 9 16 -2 25
J. Howard 23 13 11 .910 2.44
P. Mrazek 16 9 2 .918 2.38 is the official Web site of the Detroit Red Wings. Detroit Red Wings and are trademarks of the Detroit Red Wings. NHL, the NHL Shield and the word mark NHL Winter Classic are registered trademarks and Original Six is a trademark of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2015 Detroit Red Wings and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.
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