The Colorado Springs Gazette

Tatar on free agency patience, decision to sign with Avs


CASTLE PINES • The Colorado Avalanche’s latest freeagent signing joined teammates Monday morning for 18 holes of charity golf.

Tomas Tatar — signed last week to a one-year deal from New Jersey — grinned when asked about his golf game, saying, “Not the best. I can play. But I’m sure there are a lot more guys better than me.”

Players like Nathan Mackinnon bring the heat.

“I don’t want to be paired with him then,” Tatar joked.

The annual golf event, with proceeds benefitting Kroenke Sports Charities, was another building block in Tatar’s acclimation to a new team. The 32-year-old Slovakia native discussed several different topics with beat reporters at The Ridge at Castle Pines prior to the shotgun start.

Some questions have been edited for clarity.

Q. How did it come to

gether for you to land with the Avalanche?

A. “The first person I talked to was (Avs scout) Miro Zalesak and it kind of took off from then. I talked to Chris (Macfarland) and (Jared Bednar). … I thought it was a great opportunity. I was super excited since day one when I got the phone call. It took a little while to get everything in order. But I’m very happy with the decision. I can feel the winning mentality here and I’m super pumped I can join an organization like this.”

Did you need patience as free agency dragged on without signing a contract?

“After a while, you start to rethink everything and revalue everything. From a little later on, my perspective on it started to be totally different. I tried to look for a team that has very big potential, which I think this team has (it).”

What are your early thoughts on the Avalanche’s culture and team leadership?

“It started during the summer as well. I spoke with a few players just before I signed. Just by the conversations that I’ve had together with Gabe (Landeskog), or some of the guys that already signed here, was very nice. Played with (Artturi Lehkonen) in Montreal. It was nice to have familiar faces with the organization as well.”

How does your game fit in this lineup?

“I just want to help. My goal is to do everything possible to help the organization to reach their goal. I’m super happy to join. I’ll do whatever I can to be able to help the team.”

What has it been like skating with the team prior to training camp?

“Good. It’s very helpful for me to be able to skate before the camp and get everything going. You could see the guys being in great shape and doing all the right things to be ready for the camp. It helped me a lot to see them on the ice and to talk to them and bond as a teammate. I’m enjoying it.”

How do you reflect on your past two seasons playing for the Devils?

“Last year, for (New) Jersey, it was a big success. For a team who didn’t make it to the playoffs for quite a bit, we ended up very high in the standings. We had a pretty good season. We passed the first round (of the playoffs). I think for a young group like that, it was a great experience. … I was very happy I could be a part of it and help them push the edge to be a contender.”





The Gazette, Colorado Springs