According to a report from David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period, the Toronto Maple Leafs could be among the teams interested in acquiring forward Tyler Bertuzzi from the Detroit Red Wings. Pagnotta doesn’t do much more than suggest the Leafs might take a look at this, but he tries to piece together the needs of the Leafs as an organization and the contract negotiation status of Bertuzzi and wonders if the puzzle works.
Pagnotta hints that if Bertuzzi is not able to reach a contract extension with the Red Wings before the NHL Trade Deadline, GM Steve Yzerman will explore the trade market. Pagnotta noted that Bertuzzi’s agent Todd Reynolds is expected to have “proper discussions” in the not-too-distant future, but to date, nothing has materialized.
Pagnotta also writes, “There has been trade interest in Bertuzzi before and there are teams still interested now – I mentioned the Leafs above. If an extension can’t be reached here – and Bertuzzi’s definitely open to staying – he’s likely to be dealt by the deadline.”
Meanwhile, Jonas Siegel of The Athletic writes, “Bertuzzi intrigues me for the Leafs, mostly because he’s different (with the exception of Bunting) from what they’ve got.” He notes that Bertuzzi is hard to play against and not scared to mix it up. He can score and has size, is willing to crash the net and battle for loose pucks. He’s the kind of player a team like the Maple Leafs would really value in a playoff series where the club has both not lived up to the physical expectations of the post-season and not scored when it matters most in the past.
Granted, Bertuzzi has yet to appear in a postseason game in the NHL, so there’s no proof he’ll show up come crunch time, but the belief is that he’s got the skill to step up, not back down. So too, Siegel writes, “The 27-year-old, who scored 30 goals last season, might be the ideal third wheel for [Jonathan] Tavares and [Mitch] Marner.”
Does the Combination of Contract and Cost Make the Maple Leafs Possible?
Siegel asks what Pagnotta asked, which is do the Red Wings want to pay whatever it will cost to retain Bertuzzin in Detroit. He answers, “If not, you’d have to think they would trade him.” His trade cost wouldn’t be incredibly high because of his injury issues this season and other teams might be taking bigger swings on bigger names first.
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