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More Details About Bertuzzi’s Baffling 1-Yr Deal with Maple Leafs

Delving deeper into a report first broken by Elliotte Friedman, fellow respected NHL insider Chris Johnston was asked about rumors that Tyler Bertuzzi was talking with the Toronto Maple Leafs about a deal longer than the one-year contract he ultimately signed in free agency this summer. Noting that he’d heard the same reports, Johnston suggested that the way things fell for both sides wasn’t necessarily a bad way to move forward.

Tyler Bertuzzi Detroit Red Wings Maple Leafs contract
Tyler Bertuzzi Detroit Red Wings Maple Leafs contract

Bertuzzi spoke to a few teams about a multi-year contract in free agency, including the Toronto Maple Leafs, where he was looking for a long-term deal before opting for a one-season contract in free agency. That deal wasn’t out there says TSN’s Chris Johnston, who shed light on the underlying factors that influenced this peculiar situation.

One of the major sticking points during the negotiations was Bertuzzi’s injury history. Concerns loomed about how his fitness and durability would align with the Leafs’ desire not to lock themselves into a potential problem. The team wanted to know that Bertuzzi’s lower production level the year before wasn’t due to a lingering problem.

So too, Johnston noted that the Maple Leafs are well aware that not everyone fits well into the bustling city of Toronto, with its passionate fan base. They wanted to see how he adjusted there too, especially since he’d been moved around a bit in the previous season.

Johnston then outlined a potential course of action if Bertuzzi’s initial months with the Leafs prove successful. The plan, he mentioned, is to revisit contract discussions and explore the possibility of securing an extension for Bertuzzi on January 1, 2024. This strategic approach aims to capitalize on a window of opportunity, provided Bertuzzi seamlessly integrates into the team.

Bertuzzi Is Hoping to Earn What He Missed Out On This Summer

The free-agency period was undeniably unconventional for Bertuzzi, who did not anticipate teams shying away from a long-term commitment. Johnston says he got the money he was looking for, just not the commitment. This turn of events will provide a unique opportunity to showcase his skills and prove his worth to the Leafs.

Bertuzzi’s journey in the coming months will be closely monitored by hockey enthusiasts. His potential as a formidable power forward for the Leafs is undeniable, holding the promise of making a significant impact and securing a lucrative long-term extension. As the season unfolds, only time will tell if the Toronto Maple Leafs made a wise decision not to lock him up when they had the chance.

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