Tomas Tatar wasn’t sure what to pack, how much to pack, or what to do.
His Feb. 26 trade from the Detroit Red Wings to the Vegas Golden Knights was a jolt, a sudden, life-altering event.
“The first hour was pretty stressful,” Tatar said Thursday morning as he prepared to face his former teammates for the first time. “I didn’t really know what to do. It was my first time traded. Should I start packing? What should I pack and for how long?
“Then when you realize what kind of team you are joining, it was fun. I was really excited.”
Tatar was home watching TV when he saw the trade announced, simultaneously as Wings general manager Ken Holland called to inform Tatar he’d been moved. It came seven months after the Wings signed Tatar for four years and $21.2 million. The Wings are in rebuild mode and Tatar was an opportunity to flip for a first-round pick in June, a second-round in 2019 and a third-round pick in 2021.
“When you sign this kind of deal, you are thinking you are going to be here,” Tatar said. “But I knew we had to start playing better. Unfortunately we didn’t so something had to change. I’d heard rumors teams were interested about me.
“I was a little ready for it.”
The Wings anticipated how strange it would be to see Tatar wearing No. 90 in a Golden Knights uniform.
“We were together for a long time, even in Grand Rapids,” Gustav Nyquist said. “Pretty much for our whole careers we’ve been together and good friends so it’ll be fun to play against him.”
Tatar used the Golden Knight’s stopover in Detroit to pack more stuff.
“The first time I packed, I just tried to pack as many clothes as I can,” he said. “Now I had more time to look around and see what am I missing from my home.”
Tatar scored one goal his first four games with his new team.
“He’s played real well so far,” Vegas coach Gerard Gallant said. “He’s a power-play guy and he is going to score goals for us and that’s what we like about him. He’s got lots of energy and plays well.
“He’s good for our dressing room and we have a lot of guys like that, so he fits into our mix real good. He’s a character guy and the guys really like him. He’s pretty loud out there, so it’s good.”