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Truth About Rumors Bertuzzi Circled Back to Bruins In NHL Free Agency

Rumors that Tyler Bertuzzi came back to the Bruins in free agency and they couldn’t sign him are only partially accurate.

Despite Tyler Bertuzzi’s desire to test free agency and land a lucrative long-term deal on the open market, his plans didn’t quite work out as expected. Choosing not to re-up with the Boston Bruins, he scoured the market, tried to sign a five-year deal and wound up with no takers interest or capable of meeting his ask.

By July 2, the best offer Bertuzzi received was a one-year, $5.5 million contract from the Toronto Maple Leafs, which he signed to everyone’s surprise. Rumors began to surface about what went wrong for Bertuzzi, with talk that he’d actually circled back to the Bruins when he came up dry, but they had already allocated a significant portion of their available funds to bolster their roster with signings such as Milan Lucic, James van Riemsdyk, Morgan Geekie, and Kevin Shattenkirk, among others. Reports were they couldn’t sign him, even if they’d wanted to.

That’s not entirely true…



According to an article by Fluto Shinzawa of The Athletic, Bertuzzi did come back to the Bruins in free agency to see if they were open to a one-year option — something neither side had talked about in the two months leading up to free agency. It’s also true that the Bruins lacked the room to sign him to a one-year deal. What might be twisted is the narrative that they wanted to and that only after being unable to meet the forward on a new short-term deal, did he turn to the Maple Leafs. Shinzawa instead reports that GM Don Sweeney said the Bruins could have done the deal, but chose not to, prioritizing instead the retention of Trent Frederic and Jeremy Swayman.

Sure, the Bruins did have interest in Bertuzzi, but Sweeney chose not to make additional adjustments to accommodate a deal. The Bruins decided to keep their existing players and after having already given up a 2024 first-round pick and a 2025 fourth-round pick to acquire him from the Red Wings, the Bruins decided they’d paid enough and that moving other players to fit Bertuzzi’s new deal was not in the cards.

Bruins Felt Frederic and Swayman Were the Priority

The Bruins still need to sign both Frederic (25) and Swayman (24) and they plan to do so, making them part of the team’s long-term plans. Both are RFAs and it will take most, if not all of the nearly $7 million in cap space the team has left to fit their deals in. Even if the Bruins get a bargain on both players, there wouldn’t have been anywhere close to enough room to add a $5 million Bertuzzi and Sweeney wasn’t about to try.

Trent Frederic and Jeremy Swayman Boston Bruins
Trent Frederic and Jeremy Swayman Boston Bruins

While the potential union between Bertuzzi and the Bruins seemed like a good fit and the narrative that the Bruins misplayed their hand with his negotiations is a fun story to tell, it’s not incredibly accurate. Bertuzzi was never open to discussing a one-year deal until he swung and missed in free agency. When he was ready to talk options, the Bruins’ focus had shifted and it was far more important to secure their younger talents, ultimately leading to their decision not to pursue a deal with the talented forward.

It might have been the right play too, because Bertuzzi, no doubt, would have bolted at the end of next season when the cap rose and he could try and again to sign a long-term deal somewhere.

Next: Jonathan Toews Return to the NHL: Edmonton Oilers Get Bad News

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