Last week Detroit Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman announced that forward Tyler Bertuzzi is the lone unvaccinated player. That means he will forgo the organization’s nine games this upcoming season in Canada.
Bertuzzi is a native of Sudbury, Ontario, Canada, so ironically due to the countries current travel restrictions he’s unable to return ‘home’. Not only will Bertuzzi be missing out on nine-game cheques, but he does put Yzerman into a precarious situation.
The 26-year old forward who missed most of last season due to a back injury that eventually required surgery left a massive hole in Detroit’s lineup. Bertuzzi usually flanks team captain Dylan Larkin on head coach Jeff Blashill’s top line.
It’s a Detroit Red Wings group that already lacks scoring across the board, whether it’s high-end scoring or depth, so removing a member of the top line due to ‘personal reasons’ hampers an already below-average roster.
Perhaps this has something to do with the offseason trade rumors surrounding Tyler Bertuzzi? Earlier in the summer, Bertuzzi had been rumored to potentially be traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Also, the Los Angeles Kings emerged as a possible landing spot.
If Yzerman still had an appetite to move Bertuzzi, the teams’ trade partners will be considerably limited if the Red Wings are forced to remove all Canadian teams from the equation. As it stands now, the Canadian government will not allow anyone who is not vaccinated to enter the country. Is that subject to change? Absolutely, but a concrete time frame has yet to be established.
Recently, Bertuzzi said his decision not to get vaccinated is a personal decision, and it’s ‘pretty set in stone.’ During a zoom call with the media, Bertuzzi mentioned it’s a personal decision, freedom of choice, and a life choice.’
When it was Yzerman’s turn to address the media, he mentioned that he and his family are vaccinated. If you read the tea leaves here, Yzerman is indirectly throwing a little shade towards Bertuzzi.
I have no issue with anyone who decides not to get vaccinated as long as you understand that every decision in life has some type of repercussion. Bertuzzi is limiting his availability to his employer, and that is something I feel Steve Yzerman won’t willingly accept if it becomes a long-term issue.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Yzerman continues to search for a trade partner, albeit likely a limited market. The rebuilding Detroit Red Wings need to continue to find young talent, along with continuing to secure future draft capital. If an organization like the Kings are ok with sitting Bertuzzi as a healthy scratch for their Canadian games in Canada, then so be it.
This past July, Bertuzzi signed a two-year extension that averages $4.25 million. He is expected to lose about $400,000-$450,000 during the 2021-22 season.
Detroit Red Wings injury news.
After having some visa issues, Detroit Red Wings forward Jakub Vrana was injured on the first day of training camp. According to Max Bultman of The Athletic, Vrana is expected to visit a specialist today.