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Monday Morning Mailbag: Will Tomas Tatar step up?

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Answering your questions as the free agency frenzy dies down.

NHL: Los Angeles Kings at Vegas Golden Knights Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

After a brief hiatus as a result of last week’s free agency frenzy, the Monday Morning Mailbag is back! Let’s jump right in and get to your Golden Knights questions.

Truthfully, I don’t think Tatar will be able to top what David Perron did last season. Perron led all Golden Knights players with 50 assists and finished behind only William Karlsson and Jonathan Marchessault for the team lead in points with 66. Tatar, on the other hand, has never even reached the 60-point plateau in his seven-year NHL career.

That said, though, I don’t think it’s out of the realm of possibility that Tatar could be an impactful player in place of Perron in Vegas’ middle six. Tatar may be coming off a down season, but he regularly surpasses the 20-goal mark and could benefit significantly from a full summer of offseason training with his new team.

There are no reports suggesting that this is something the Knights are considering, but I would not be shocked at all if they inquired about Justin Faulk, assuming they miss out on Erik Karlsson.

Like Karlsson, Faulk is a right-shot defender capable of producing a sizable amount of points. He isn’t coming off a great season, but there’s no denying the 26-year-old’s impact when he’s on his game. Faulk has been one of the cornerstones on the Hurricanes’ blueline since the 2011-2012 season, and it’s possible a change of scenery could do him some good after years of missing out on the playoffs.

This is something the Knights will surely be considering this summer. Vegas has somewhat of a logjam down the middle with Paul Stastny now in the fold, and it wouldn’t be all that surprising if his arrival forces Haula, who led the Knights with 489 faceoff wins last season, to shift to left wing.

But would Haula be a fit on the wing? There’s no reason to assume otherwise. Haula is a strong, speedy forward capable of getting up and down the ice quickly. He, along with Alex Tuch, would provide Stastny a dynamic one-two punch of scoring wingers as he likely finds a home on Vegas’ second line.

It’s also possible Haula could remain at center and move down to the third line, forcing Cody Eakin to the wing. However, Eakin led all Knights skaters (minimum of 100 faceoff wins) with a 52.12 win percentage, so shifting him to wing may not be in the Knights’ best interest.

This is such a difficult question to answer, because I don’t think anybody has any idea what Karlsson’s next contract will look like. It’s like throwing darts blindfolded.

If I’m Wild Bill, though, I’m looking to cash in. After scoring 43 goals last season, I’d be looking for long-term deal worth at least $6 million annually. George McPhee, on the other hand, likely sees this from a totally different perspective. Though Karlsson seemingly scored at will last season, he also had an inordinate amount of luck on his side, scoring on 23.4 percent of his shots (the league average was 9.2 percent). History shows that Karlsson is due for a significant regression in scoring next season, and that’s what makes this contract dispute so intriguing. If I’m George McPhee signing Wild Bill to a three- or four-year contract worth $5-5.5 million annually seems feasible.