My point is that you can't really apply that logic to everyone (i.e. giving a bridge deal to everyone coming of ELC). Take Crosby as another extreme case. You wouldn't sign him to a 2 year prove it deal after his first 3 years. To me, bridge deals are more of a risk management concept. Sometimes, a player would prefer 2 years at $3M per rather than 6 years at $4M per...it really depends.
Take Subban for example. Montreal went with a bridge deal for him and are going to get burned now. Not sure if he pushed for the bridge deal or not, but they would have been better off signing him long-term a couple years ago, now they will end up paying much more.
I understand your point of view though....you haven't put in enough time to demonstrate consistency, therefore don't deserve a long-term lucrative contract....however, teams often give players contracts they don't currently deserve to avoid having to pay them even more in the future.
For the record, I'm not against skipping bridge deals when the situation calls for it. (I know my 3rd post in this topic seems to contradict that, because I said "players"). My original point was this:
Tatar should sign a "bridge" deal, just like most younger players. I can't stand when I see a guy come off of his ELC and get a 6 million dollar contract (not saying Tatar is getting this, or has asked for it) for one season of strong play. The rare occasion, it's deserved and the deal works out.
So perhaps I wasn't specific enough, but I'm referring to the mid-range players, not superstar. I acknowledge that skipping bridge deals can be beneficial. At times, skipping those bridge deals turns out to be a fantastic situation for a team - i.e. John Tavares. I think most players considered to be superstars can "safely" skip those deals.
Montreal's screwed right now because of Subban's bridge deals, and that's where I think a team like Ottawa did the right thing (Karlsson @ 6.5 per).
However, in Tatar's particular case, I would feel much safer giving him a bridge deal to determine his long-term contract's value. As of right now, he's played predominantly on the 3rd line. The players mentioned above are studs, playing against the other team's top competition. Maybe it's my perception of Tatar's potential, but I don't see Detroit being burned by a bridge deal with him. I don't think it'll amount to a situation where Tatar is able to demand upwards of 7 million on his next deal.
I get the idea of risk management, and I wouldn't have been totally opposed to a 5 year, 3-3.5 million deal. It worked out well with Filppula. I just think that the 2-3 year deal, in Tatar's case, would be the best fit for now.