The Detroit Red Wings will see left-winger Tyler Bertuzzi returning to their lineup for Saturday’s game at Seattle against the Kraken. Might it also prove to be his last game wearing the winged wheel?
The trade talk that just won’t seem to go away is a Bertuzzi departure from the Red Wings. It was rumored earlier this week and continues to gain traction heading into the weekend prior to the March 21 NHL trade deadline.
Frank Seravalli of DailyFaceoff.com was first to report the Bertuzzi trade speculation and during Friday’s DFO podcast, was insisting the the fire is being stoked further in this regard. Not only that but Seravalli is also of the belief that Bertuzzi would be welcoming to a move away from Detroit.
“There’s something out there,” Seravalli said. “I don’t know exactly what it is, or what’s the proper way to frame it but the Red Wings have let everyone know they’re open for business. And I think Bertuzzi has let them know that he’s open to moving on. I don’t think it’s a trade request, or anything but I do think that he would be a guy that’s okay with a trade.”
Bertuzzi sat out Detroit’s last three games. Unvaccinated for COVID-19, he’s prohibited from playing in Canada. The Red Wings are 1-5 in the Great White North minus Bertuzzi. Thursday’s 1-0 triumph at Vancouver was the team’s first victory this season that was earned north of the 49th parallel. The Wings must still play April 3 at Ottawa, April 6 at Winnipeg and April 26 at Toronto.
An Eastern Front
With so many Canadian teams still in the Western Conference playoff picture, if Bertuzzi is to be moving to a new address by Monday, it will be with an Eastern Conference club.
Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver and Winnipeg aren’t out of the postseason reckoning. In the East, only the Toronto Maple Leafs will be representing Canada in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Oddly enough, David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period is reporting that the Maple Leafs, New York Islanders and Pittsburgh Penguins all have interest in Bertuzzi.
Bertuzzi Enjoying Career Year
Bertuzzi is second on the Red Wings with 24 goals. With 48 points, he’s one shy of beating his career high in that department set in 2017-18.
“He’s had an unreal season,” Seravalli said. “A really good player that I could see being on the move by Monday.”
So why would the Wings trade Bertuzzi? His COVID-19 vaccine reluctance might seem the obvious reason but there are other mitigating factors. He’s got one more season on his current contract at $4.75 million. After that, he’s an unrestricted free agent and could command a huge salary stipend on the open market.
Bertuzzi is also 27. Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman was recently allowing that he thinks the team is still years away from being a legitimate NHL contender. Perhaps by the time Detroit gets to that stage, Yzerman believes that Bertuzzi will be beyond his prime as a performer. In past years, he’s moved on from both Andreas Athanasiou and Anthony Mantha, both of whom appeared to be key pieces of the future puzzle.
— NHL (@NHL) March 18, 2022
The potential return from a Bertuzzi deal would also prove intriguing. Friday, the Chicago Blackhawks landed forward prospects Tyler Raddysh and Boris Katchouk, along with two first-round picks, from the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for 23-year forward Brandon Hagel. Hagel is showing 21 goals this season.
What those reasons could be, it’s a certainty Yzerman won’t be sharing them with anybody. There are world-class poker players who are envious at how well Stevie Y holds his cards close to his vest.
Whatever the case, there’s certainly something being discussed regarding Bertuzzi.
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