With just two weeks remaining until the March 3rd NHL Trade Deadline, general manager Steve Yzerman and the Detroit Red Wings have a difficult decision to make regarding Tyler Bertuzzi.
The Detroit Red Wings will take a five-game win streak into Seattle to take on the Kraken Saturday night, and while I don’t expect Detroit to become buyers, will their recent play force Yzerman to hold ahead of the deadline?
Let’s clarify something. I don’t expect the Red Wings to become buyers ahead of the deadline unless it’s for a player they expect to be a part of their core in the coming years. Detroit won’t be looking for a rental, but I wouldn’t rule out Yzerman making a splash for a player that might fit alongside Dylan Larkin for years to come. Is that player Timo Meier? Maybe. I genuinely believe Yzerman would prefer to spend what it would take to acquire and extend Meier on a center rather than a winger. Yzerman’s history suggests he’d like to build Detroit’s roster from the inside out. Look at how strong those Red Wings championship teams were down the middle; Yzerman, Sergei Fedorov, Igor Larionov, Kris Draper, Pavel Datsyuk, and Henrik Zetterberg.
We’ve already seen a few blockbuster trades around the league, including Bo Horvat moving from Vancouver to the New York Islanders. Plus, star winger Vladimir Tarasenko from St. Louis to the Big Apple, and most recently, Ryan O’Reilly going for the Blues to the Toronto Maple Leafs. That move to acquire O’Reilly will take the Leafs out of the running for Detroit’s Tyler Bertuzzi, and it’s also a sign Leafs’ general manager Kyle Dubas is pushing his chips to the center of the table.
Toronto has been snakebitten for years, since 1967, really, but who is counting? Dubas strengthened the middle of his lineup by nabbing O’Reilly, whose rugged style of play is desired throughout the postseason. The Leafs will go with Auston Matthews, John Tavares, and O’Reilly down the middle, finally hoping to win their first playoff series since 2004. That always catches me off guard; with all the firepower the Leafs have had in recent years, the Detroit Red Wings have won a Stanley Cup since the Toronto Maple Leafs last won a playoff series. Think about that for a second. Sheesh.
Are the Detroit Red Wings expected to make Tyler Bertuzzi available amid their latest playoff push?
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek discussed some of the latest rumors and speculation circulating around the league on the newest edition of 32 Thoughts The Podcast.
During Hockey Night In Canada last weekend, Marek reported that Edmonton, Tampa Bay, and Dallas were three teams interested in Tyler Bertuzzi.
Freidman added Friday that Toronto and Minnesota could also be in on Bertuzzi, but after adding O’Reilly, we can safely remove the Leafs from the running. If Tampa Bay hopes to land Bertuzzi, they will likely need to pay a premium compared to the other teams mentioned because Detroit and Tampa Bay play in the same division. Bertuzzi being a pending free agent complicates things for Yzerman a bit. Despite Detroit’s recent surge in play, if there hasn’t been any movement regarding a contract extension with Bertuzzi, the Detroit Red Wings won’t want to lose him for nothing to free agency this summer.
Bertuzzi is coming off an incredible game Thursday night in Calgary, where he recorded a goal and two assists. The soon-to-be 28-year-old forward has totaled three goals and 11 points this season over 23 games for the Red Wings.
In addition to Bertuzzi, Arizona’s Jakob Chychrun, San Jose’s Meier, and Erik Karlsson, along with Chicago’s Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, headline the top players potentially available ahead of the deadline.