Tomas Tatar was a lightning rod for a lot of criticism in the early going of this season, the offence was mostly intact, but he had a nasty habit of racking up penalty minutes by the boatload. After a demotion down the lineup, and a moment to refocus, the Tatar of last year has come back to the fore.
The Montreal Canadiens went down a goal late in the first period, and it ended up being Tatar who brought them right back into the game. He weaved around a defender, waited for his moment, and sniped his shot by Alex Lyon. From there, Montreal never looked back.
While his two assists were secondary, he was still a driving force in the offence once again. It would be easy to overlook that given the standout play of many other Canadiens in Philadelphia.
There is a long-running debate on whether or not to trade Tatar ahead of the season’s deadline. Montreal doesn’t really have a replacement for his role and production right now. From one perspective, it’s very much worth keeping him in Montreal for the time being. His contributions are unmatched, and he’s a big part of Ilya Kovalchuk’s resurgence as well, while he’s also still under contract for another year.
He has 43 points in 49 games on a team with two separate eight-game losing streaks; incredible stuff considering the circumstances. For the rough start he had to the season, he has done everything possible to leave those discipline issues in the past.
Since being acquired, he has 101 points in 129 games, while the player he was traded for has 85 in 115 games. For someone considered to be the “throw-in” piece, he’s become part of arguably one of the biggest trade steals in recent NHL history.
Time will tell if Marc Bergevin trades Tatar, but for right now he’s continuing to star as a major part of the Montreal Canadiens.