First of all, you're overplaying your hand a bit. Tatar was a regular in the lineup after 9 games...so it's not like those three guys were all getting huge playing time for the first half of the season...they weren't. After the first ten games any two of the three were scratched on a given night.
Secondly, that doesn't really address my point anyway. Cleary, Bertuzzi, and Samuelsson weren't the reason we got butchered by Boston in the playoffs. They weren't the reason we blew a 3-1 series lead against Chicago the year before that. They weren't the reason we couldn't beat San Jose for two years. And they definitely weren't the reason we got embarrassed by Nashville in 5 games.
But here's the kicker...neither were injuries. In only one of those series (Boston) did injuries play a significant role. There are fundamental issues with this team that haven't been addressed in a LONG time. Acting like those issues have been resolved because we let a couple of frequently scratched third and fourth liners walk is the equivalent to burying your head in the sand.
I wasn't arguing your point Kip.
I was only saying that this year's team should have less plugs than last year.
But yes, if this team continues to play on the outside, have crappy D, suck on special teams, and have average goaltending then they're screwed.
But, an improved Smith and DeKeyser combined with hopefully more Ouellett/Marchenko and less Kindl/Lashoff, and the D should improve.
Two things I noticed when I watched that video that Hockeytown posted:
1) Almost all of Tatar's goals came within 6 feet of the net. Tatar may have Hudler's size, but he has Helm's heart.
2) Several of those goals came in the third period, during a tie game or the Wings down by a goal. I wasn't sure whether there was any statistical significance so I rewatched the vid and came up with these numbers:
Tatar scored 4 first period goals, 7 second period goals, and 8 third period goals. This is especially impressive because the Wings only scored 8 third period goals all year (joke). Anyway, of those 8 goals in the third, the Wings were down or tied in 6 of those occasions (more specifically meaning his goal either tied the game or put the Wings in the lead. The one exception was when the Wings were down 3-1 to the Habs, when Tatar scored to make it 3-2. Then again to make it 3-3. I originally wasnt going to include the first goal, but because he scored the second one to tie it as well I decided to keep it in.) I didn't do any actual statistical analyses so take what you want from these values, but at the very least there may to be a trend that this kid gets better as the game progresses. I don't know how to statistically analyze "clutchness", or more specifically what the actual definition of clutch is. Scoring anytime in the third? Last 10 minutes? Down by 1? By 2? Anyway, someone with a better grasp of stats and clutchness can tackle this one.
Haven't you heard? Manny Legace's father-in-law told Leftwinger that Helm has no heart. If you feel differently, prepare to have your "love bubble" burst.
See: the current LGWs "prediction" thread.
Back on topic: I've seen some fancy Corsi charts that show Tatar's positive effects on his linemates and also data that supports the claim that he's a "possession monter".
The big thing for me will be whether or not he goes the Datsyuk/Zetterberg route of working his sack off to get bigger and stronger. If he can do this, and learn how to play against other teams top D, I think he's got a mitt full of 25-30 goal seasons in his future.