Forward Tomas Tatar has played for six teams in the NHL over thirteen seasons. Although each stop was special in their own right, a one-year contract is bringing Tatar back to the New Jersey Devils, a place that ‘feels like home.’

“It was a pretty easy decision to come back, and honestly it feels like I’m coming home,” Tatar shared Monday. “I know everyone, know my teammates, know the staff, and it’s very warming (for me).”

Tatar speaks with the media after re-joining the New Jersey Devils

After two years in New Jersey, Tatar played for the Colorado Avalanche and Seattle Kraken last season. Throughout the year, he stayed in touch with his former teammates and watched the team from afar.

“Honestly the bond in the locker room (with) the team, I felt we were really close,” Tatar reflected on his time with the Devils. “We were still in touch with everyone, I was wondering how they were doing, they were texting me how I’m doing during the season. When you come into a locker room like that when you feel the bond, the camaraderie its here, it’s just a great feeling.”

As soon as the news started getting out there of a possible reunion after a year apart, Tatar’s phone started to ring.

“Once I figured I might be coming back, I wanted to keep it to myself as long as I could,” Tatar explained. “But you know, it was leaking a little bit so I was getting a few messages from the other guys and once we got the deal done, I swear everybody texted me. I was very happy to be a part of the Devils again and be more than just a friend of guys, to be their teammate again.

“When you’re joining a new team you’re always happy when some of the guys reach out to you and say hey, but this felt so different,” Tatar continued. “It felt like the guy that they know is coming back and he’s part of the family.”

When Tatar puts on the Devils sweater for his first game back, he’ll be with his hockey family in front of his family, friends, and loved ones. The Devils are a part of the 2024 Global Series in Prague, Czechia, only a three hour drive from Tatar's home in Slovakia.

“I’m very excited,” Tatar said. “(Last year) I was still watching the Devils, I knew they (were going) to play the game in Prague and I was like ‘wow, that’s so cool.’ By the time I signed the contract, I absolutely forgot about it. Then Ondrej Palat reminded me.

“I’m so happy,” Tatar continued. “Just to get the chance to play an NHL game with the Devils in front of my family and friends, that’s a lifetime opportunity. I’m very excited.”

There's plenty of excitment for the veteran forward on this next chapter of his career, but the most significant feeling is one of returning to a place where he's always loved.

“I really loved my time in New Jersey, was kind of hard to leave, but I’m very happy that I’m back,” Tatar shared. “Felt like I never left really.”