Skip to content

Red Wings sign Tatar and Coetzee

Early favorite for a nickname: Tots

It was a busy day for the Red Wings, first announcing that they had signed 2009 second round pick Tomas Tatar, followed by inking training camp tryout Willie Coetzee.

Tatar had a wonderful prospect camp, followed by a strong main camp. Ansar Khan broke the news:

The Red Wings have agreed to terms on a three-year contract with forward Tomas Tatar, their second pick in this year’s entry draft.

Tatar, 18, had a terrific prospects tournament and training camp and will continue to practice with the team, likely getting into a preseason game or two, before the Red Wings decide where to put him this season.

Since the Wings drafted him 60th overall, Tatar has been vocal about his desire to stay in North America this season, despite having another year on a contract from Zvolen of the Slovak Extraliga. Evidently, that contract contained an out clause, allowing his to void the final year if he were to sign an NHL contract.

Earlier in the summer, he was drafted by the Kitchener Rangers in the OHL Import Draft before being traded to the Plymouth Whalers. His new contract gives the Red Wings control of his immediate destiny: if he performs well enough to warrant going pro right away, he’ll be a Griffin. If the Wings decide he could benefit from being a triple-digit point producer in Juniors, they’ll tuck him away in Plymouth. If he was to be sent to the OHL before playing in ten games, the clock on his contract will not begin ticking. The deal is for three years.

Red Wings General Manager/Demigod Ken Holland has said Tatar definitely has a chance to play with the Griffins this season. Per the Detroit News:

“We want him to play in North America,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said. “He had an out in his contract in Slovakia if he signs a contract over here. We think we can do a better job of controlling his development over here. Grand Rapids (AHL) or Plymouth (OHL) are the two options. We’re going to give him every opportunity to earn a spot in Grand Rapids.”

Later in the day, it was learned that Willie Coetzee was also signed to a three-year, entry level deal. Teammates with Red Wings draft pick Landon Ferraro, Coetzee was invited to prospect camp, and stuck around for a few days in regular camp. But, the Wings obviously liked what they saw, and made sure Willie put pen to paper.

The Red Deer Scene, the same publication that broke the “Coetzee to Wings Camp” story in July, has the news:

After an impressive prospects tournament, Coetzee was off to main camp, along with Rebels teammate Landon Ferraro.

How did he fare? Well after today, the answer is pretty obvious. The undrafted product of Maple Ridge B.C. is the proud owner of a brand new three year entry level NHL contract.

Coetzee is probably not headed to Grand Rapids, and will benefit from another season or two in Juniors. His contract will not begin until he begins playing for the Griffins.

Photo Credit: Dave Reginek, Getty Images