It feels like being a general manager is comparable to being a stockbroker. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, and when you win, your praise is short-lived, but when you lose, it is magnified and remembered forever. The Detroit Red Wings have plenty of decisions to make ahead of the March 3rd NHL Trade Deadline, and Steve Yzerman may have held the stock of Tyler Bertuzzi a year too long.
There is a King of Queens episode where Doug, portrayed by Kevin James, and his wife Carrie (Leah Remini) elect to play the stock market with hopes of getting rich quickly. The roller coaster of ups and downs becomes far too taxing to endure on a daily basis, leaving the couple to sell their stock for lower than they bought it for, which never ends well. I wonder if Yzerman is feeling the same type of pressure with Bertuzzi.
Bertuzzi turns 28 in two weeks and is in the final year of his two-year deal that totals $9.5 million. With Bertuzzi set to become an unrestricted free agent, it puts some pressure on Yzerman to make a decision ahead of the deadline. If the reports are accurate that contract talks have stalled, the Detroit Red Wings risk losing Bertuzzi for nothing this summer to the open market. I can’t stress this enough; nobody really knows what is happening behind the scenes. Yzerman never tips his hand, and Detroit’s general manager rarely provides anyone outside his tight inner circle with any prominent information.
Bertuzzi is coming off a career year with the Detroit Red Wings, where he totaled 30 goals amassing 62 points over 68 games. That production led Yzerman to hold onto his stock a year ago amid the trade rumors surrounding his gritty forward. This year feels different, with Bertuzzi being a pending UFA.
Is Detroit Red Wings forward Tyler Bertuzzi on the move ahead of the NHL Trade Deadline?
David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period recently reported that several teams have reached out to check his availability. Pagnotta has also elevated Bertuzzi into his top-10 trade targets ahead of the deadline.
Bertuzzi, who has moved into our Top 10 on our Trade Watch List, is being dangled and several teams have reached out about his availability. As a result of a lack of contract talk, one source close to the situation told me they now “expect” Bertuzzi to be dealt by the deadline.
Teams like the Minnesota Wild, Toronto Maple Leafs, Calgary Flames and Dallas Stars are all looking to bolster their top-six and Bertuzzi would be an affordable option with his $4.75 million cap hit.
Pagnotta claims that the Minnesota Wild, Toronto Maple Leafs, Calgary Flames, and Dallas Stars are all looking to bolster their top-six ahead of the deadline. Bertuzzi would be an affordable rental to do so.
This season has been anything but positive for Bertuzzi. The top-six forward entered training camp with a lingering injury which sidelined him early on, and then Bertuzzi suffered a broken right hand in Detroit’s second regular season game.
Upon returning to the Red Wings lineup, Bertuzzi suffered yet another broken hand, this time the left one, which required surgery. Then, again, shortly after returning to Detroit’s lineup, Bertuzzi suffered a minor lower-body injury that once again forced him out of the lineup, but that injury proved to be just a true day-to-day injury.
Bertuzzi is a minus-9 and has totaled two goals and six points over 19 games this season.
Although Bertuzzi still possesses plenty of potential, and his rugged style of play will be desirable for a playoff-bound team ahead of the trade deadline, his injury history will limit Detroit’s return for his services, not to mention his lack of production which also goes hand-in-hand with the laundry list of injuries this season.
The Detroit Red Wings have a few other pending free agents, like Jake Walman, Olli Maatta, Oskar Sundqvist, and Jordan Oesterle, that will draw plenty of interest from playoff teams over the next few weeks. Plus, don’t rule out Yzerman aggressively trying to trade Jakub Vrana.