A look at 4 former Red Wings that are struggling so far in 2023

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Tyler Bertuzzi, Detroit Red Wings

(Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

That old saying that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side is quickly coming to fruition for a few former Detroit Red Wings.

First up, Tyler Bertuzzi. The former Detroit Red Wings forward signed a one-year contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs for $5.5 million this past off-season. It was one of those ‘bet on yourself’ deals, but things are not going as planned for the gritty winger. This is a bit of a surprise, knowing that Bertuzzi would have an opportunity to play with some combination of Auston Matthews, William Nylander, and Mitchell Marner. Bertuzzi should be poised to have a career year playing with some of the top offensive players in the league but is off to a slow start, having recorded just three goals and four points through the first 13 games.

If you recall, Detroit Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin shed a few tears in a press conference following last year’s trade deadline when his pal Bertuzzi was traded to the Boston Bruins for a first-round draft pick. Bertuzzi had a really nice playoff stint with the Bruins, recording five goals and ten points in seven games. Losing in the first round to the Florida Panthers made for a highly disappointing postseason despite having them on the ropes up three games to one before imploding. The Bruins could not fit Bertuzzi under the cap this off-season, allowing him to test the open market. I don’t think that market was as prosperous as Bertuzzi and his camp had hoped, leaving him to sign that one-year deal.

That Toronto media is ruthless, a lot different than those covering the Red Wings.

Bertuzzi found himself as the center of attention following a recent game against the Bruins. Leafs defenseman Timothy Liljegren was driven awkwardly into the end boards by Brad Marchand. As the Leafs bench was chirping at Marchand following Liljegren’s injury, Bertuzzi was spotted with a smile on his face.

That gesture drew the attention of the smothering Toronto media, and Bertuzzi, when questioned, said people can perceive that however they want; he didn’t need to explain himself. That won’t be forgotten by that overwhelming, often toxic media market. Bertuzzi did score on Wednesday night for the Maple Leafs against the Ottawa Senators, and despite being relegated to the fourth line last week, was backup playing as a top-six forward on a line with John Tavares and William Nylander.

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