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Tatar avoids second-half slide

Published Wednesday, March 2, 2011, 12:01 a.m. under 2010-11 RWC Reports
Tomas Tatar

Tomas Tatar (Credit: Mark Newman/Grand Rapids Griffins)

Unlike last season, Tomas Tatar is showing no signs of wearing down.

The 20-year-old winger, in his second American Hockey League campaign, continues to be one of the top performers with the Grand Rapids Griffins, with five goals and four assists in his past seven games. Not only that, he has 33 points in his past 31 games and is 32nd in the league scoring race.

Last season, the Slovakian’s first in North America, a 19-year-old Tatar had a hot start (21 points in 27 games) but slowed after going to the IIHF world junior championship (just 11 points in his final 31 games).

His improved second-half play is a big step forward in Tatar’s development, along with his solid showing in a nine-game stint with the Detroit Red Wings in January. The 5-foot-10 179-pounder could be ready for NHL duty this fall, depending on how many roster openings the Red Wings have.

With the futures of Mike Modano and Kris Draper up in the air, Tatar could easily slide into one of the open forward spots along with speedy winger Jan Mursak, who just signed a two-year, one-way contract extension.

Tatar would join Darren Helm and Justin Abdelkader as players who have recently broken into the NHL after just two AHL seasons. But Tatar will only be 20 in the fall, while Helm (22) and Abdelkader (23) were older when they made their jumps. That may cause the Red Wings to err on the side of caution with Tatar and shuttle him between the NHL and the AHL in 2011-12.

Either way, Tatar is easily the Red Wings’ best forward prospect and is giving Brendan Smith a run for his money as top prospect overall. With his combination of skill and spunk — the Red Wings liken him to a more dynamic Jir Hudler — he projects as a quality top-six winger down the road.

NOTES: Forward Louis-Marc Aubry (Montreal, QMJHL) has returned from injury, just in time for the playoffs … Defenseman Logan Pyett (Grand Rapids, AHL) became the first Griffins blueliner to score a hat trick last week and he potted all three in one period. Pyett needs to make the Red Wings next season or be exposed to waivers … Forward Gustav Nyquist (Maine, NCAA) may be well off his 61-point sophomore pace, but the talented Swede is still third in Hockey East scoring this season and the slight drop-off is no cause for concern.

Following is this week’s statistical update for skaters and goaltenders:

NAME TEAM LEAGUE GP G A P PIM +/- SOG
Nestrasil, Andrej P.E.I. QMJHL 49 15 40 55 30 +4 139
Fournier, Gleason Rimouski QMJHL 52 11 29 40 56 -5 90
Aubry, Louis-Marc Montreal QMJHL 28 12 9 21 24 +8 81
Parkes, Trevor Montreal QMJHL 54 28 27 55 30 +22 188
Ferraro, Landon Everett WHL 37 9 16 25 42 0
Callahan, Mitchell Kelowna WHL 52 20 28 48 71 +3
Macek, Brooks Tri-City WHL 58 12 25 37 34 -10
Stolyarov, Gennady Dynamo Msk KHL 20 2 4 6 23 -8 32
Pulkkinen, Teemu Jokerit FIN 51 17 32 49 30 +20
Almquist, Adam HV-71 SEL 51 0 16 16 32 +20
Jarnkrok, Calle Brynas SEL 47 10 15 25 4 -2
Axelsson, Dick Farjestad SEL 45 13 14 27 126 +1
Axelsson, Anton Timra SEL 28 5 8 13 4 -2
Samuelsson, Jesper Vita Hasten SWE-3 18 9 13 22 35
Smith, Brendan Grand Rapids AHL 49 9 17 26 107 +3 86
Mursak, Jan Grand Rapids AHL 42 11 17 28 33 +14 102
Tatar, Tomas Grand Rapids AHL 51 17 27 44 37 +20 113
Pare, Francis Grand Rapids AHL 61 15 25 40 47 -11 179
Ehrhardt, Travis Grand Rapids AHL 49 4 8 12 28 0 44
Pyett, Logan Grand Rapids AHL 55 9 11 20 34 -2 99
Andersson, Joakim Grand Rapids AHL 60 4 9 13 20 -3 82
Emmerton, Cory Grand Rapids AHL 47 9 23 32 18 +9 88
Coetzee, Willie Grand Rapids AHL 25 0 5 5 8 -7 42
Kolosov, Sergei Grand Rapids AHL 43 0 1 1 37 -7 38
Lashoff, Brian Grand Rapids AHL 28 0 2 2 19 -4 21
Owens, Jordan Grand Rapids AHL 59 6 13 19 101 -13 94
Filppula, Ilari Grand Rapids AHL 58 18 32 50 20 +5 99
Raedeke, Brent Grand Rapids AHL 51 5 3 8 17 -1 58
Piche, Sebastien Grand Rapids AHL 11 0 2 2 13 -4 15
Piche, Sebastien Toledo ECHL 33 5 17 22 31 -5 110
Coetzee, Willie Toledo ECHL 19 7 6 13 4 0 71
Lashoff, Brian Toledo ECHL 3 0 1 1 0 -1 10
Nyquist, Gustav Maine NCAA 32 16 26 42 12 +3 130
Nicastro, Max Boston U. NCAA 33 3 4 7 51 -7 38
Oslund, Nick St. Cloud St. NCAA 26 3 1 4 10 -3 45
Jensen, Nick St. Cloud St. NCAA 34 5 16 21 18 -3 52
Sheahan, Riley Notre Dame NCAA 32 3 14 17 18 -7 74
Rufenach, Bryan Clarkson NCAA 31 3 6 9 12 -1 80
Cayer, Julien Clarkson NCAA 23 3 5 8 20 +6 23
Marshall, Ben Omaha USHL 41 5 15 20 24 +22 98
NAME TEAM LEAGUE GP W L T SO GAA SV%
Mrazek, Petr Ottawa OHL 49 30 15 3 4 2.81 .922
Larsson, Daniel HV-71 SEL 45 2 2.50 .918
McCollum, Thomas Grand Rapids AHL 20 6 11 2 1 3.18 .881
Pearce, Jordan Toledo ECHL 8 3 4 1 1 4.13 .883
Pearce, Jordan Grand Rapids AHL 25 11 6 5 0 2.75 .912
McCollum, Thomas Toledo ECHL 9 4 4 0 1 3.18 .881

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