Ex-Detroit Red Wings F Tyler Bertuzzi settles for one-year deal with Toronto Maple Leafs

Detroit Free Press

After everything that transpired over the past season, former Detroit Red Wings forward Tyler Bertuzzi ended up settling for a one-year deal in free agency.

His $5.5 million contract is certainly a good deal for the Toronto Maple Leafs, who add a local product who just demonstrated how effective he is in the playoffs. Bertuzzi became a free agent when he and the Boston Bruins were unable to find middle ground on a long-term deal, even though he delivered five goals and five assists in seven Stanley Cup playoff games for them.

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That’s the gamble contenders take at the trade deadline: The Bruins, amidst a record-setting regular season, loaded up for an expected playoff run, and paid the Wings a 2024 first-round pick (top-10 protected) and a 2025 fourth-round pick for Bertuzzi’s services.

General manager Steve Yzerman traded Bertuzzi on March 2, the day before the deadline, after also finding no common ground in contract talks. Bertuzzi’s side wanted a long term and good money, and the Wings were wary of committing to Bertuzzi for long given his injury history (back surgery, surgery on both hands/wrist area). His decision in 2021-22 not to get vaccinated for COVID also did not go over well within the organization, because it meant he could not travel to play the nine games the Wings were scheduled for in Canada.

At 28, Bertuzzi is at an age where players with his type of résumé — one 30-goal season and two 20-goal seasons — sign in the five-to-seven year range. Especially someone with grit and goal-scoring ability, which Bertuzzi has in spades.

Bertuzzi could have a banner year and cash in during next summer’s free agency period, but most players at this stage are going for long-term security. He was coming off a two-year deal with the Wings that carried a $4.75 million annual average value and had a salary of $5.25 million in 2022-23.

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