Retaining Bertuzzi had been at the top of my offseason wishlist as a fan of the Red Wings, and I am thrilled that general manager (GM) Steve Yzerman got this deal completed.
As you know, Bertuzzi had been one name often linked to Red Wings trade rumors this offseason. It seemed that not only that the Toronto Maple Leafs were sniffing around but also the Los Angeles Kings, Philadelphia Flyers, St. Louis, and Edmonton were said to check in on the 26-year old’s availability.
Bertuzzi missed the majority of the 2021 NHL season due to a back injury that required surgery. Although he played in just nine games, Bertuzzi recorded five goals and seven points. In back-to-back seasons before last year, Bertuzzi scored 21 goals recording 47 and 48 points respectfully.
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We all know back injuries can be worrisome moving forward, ask former Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg.
You never know, but I am somewhat concerned that this injury may resurface later in Bertuzzi’s career, especially when you consider the way he plays the game. Bertuzzi willingly goes to the dirty areas of the ice and tends to be the worker bee of his line.
In the past, it’s Bertuzzi retrieving the puck down low in the corners of the offensive zone, tirelessly trying to get it to Dylan Larkin or Anthony Mantha (before he was traded). Then he typically heads to the front of the net looking for an opportunity to defect a shot, screen the goaltender, or find a juicy rebound he can deposit into the back of the goal.
The Detroit Red Wings re-sign winger Tyler Bertuzzi.
It seems that Yzerman is not willing to risk a long-term deal for a player with a back issue and perhaps someone who plays the game in such a physical manner like Bertuzzi.
The two sides agreed on a two-year extension worth a total of $9.5 million. The deal carries an average annual value of $4.75 million, which seems like a team-friendly deal for the Red Wings. The real money will be distributed to Bertuzzi as $4.25 million in year one and $5.25 million in year two.
Bertuzzi will become an unrestricted free agent at the conclusion of this contract. Also, just because the Red Wings signed Bertuzzi to a new contract doesn’t mean he won’t be traded. I prefer the organization keep him, but if the return for his services becomes significant, don’t be shocked if Yzerman continues to fill the cupboards with future assets.
The Detroit Red Wings still have three important pieces left to be retained. Filip Hronek, Adam Erne, and Jakub Vrana all remain restricted free agents.