Detroit Red Wings fans won’t have to wait long to see Tyler Bertuzzi in his new colors. Thursday, the Red Wings were trading Bertuzzi to the Boston Bruins. In return, Detroit is receiving a 2024 first-round choice and a 2025 fourth-round selection in the NHL entry draft.
Boston and Detroit play a home-and-home series March 11-12. The Bruins are at Little Caesars Arena on the back end of these back-to-back contests.
For now, the Red Wings have four first-round selections the next two drafts (two this year, two in 2024).
Bertuzzi’s trade value diminished during an injury-plagued season in which he’s missed a total of 29 games on separate occasions with broken left and right hands. It has clearly affected his play; he has only four goals and 14 points in 29 games and a minus-12 rating that was worst among the club’s forwards.
This is the second first-round pick general manager Steve Yzerman has acquired over the past two days. He traded defenseman Filip Hronek to Vancouver Wednesday for a protected 2023 first-rounder.
Bertuzzi, 28, once was a core player on a rebuilding team, with a coveted blend of skill and grit. He scored 21 goals in back-to-back seasons and had a career year in 2021-22 with 30 goals and 62 points.
While he hasn’t appeared in a Stanley Cup playoff game, his knack for going to the hard areas (corners, net front) and getting involved physically is suited for the postseason. The Bruins, with an NHL-best record of 47-8-5, are all in for a Stanley Cup run.
The Red Wings retained 50 percent of what remains of Bertuzzi’s $4.75 million salary. He is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
Bertuzzi was the Red Wings’ most prominent trading chip. Other pending unrestricted free agents who might draw interest prior to Friday’s 3 p.m. trade deadline include center Pius Suter, winger Oskar Sundqvist and defenseman Robert Hagg. Defensemen Olli Maatta (two years/$6 million) and Jake Walman (three years/$10.2 million) are off the market after signing extensions recently.
With a loaded roster and one deal already in the books, there seemed to be a good chance the Bruins were already done with trade deadline moves this season.
But when Taylor Hall and Nick Foligno each went down with injuries during the team’s four-game road trip, Don Sweeney wasn’t risking going into the postseason with uncertain forward depth and sent two draft picks, including a protected 2024 first-rounder to Detroit for Todd Bertuzzi.
Why the Bruins are adding Bertuzzi
Whether Bertuzzi was in the Bruins’ initial plans is unknown. It may be, though, that injuries to Taylor Hall and Nick Foligno made the Bruins improvise. Hall was placed on long-term injured reserve and will miss at least 10 games and 24 calendar days. Thursday will be his third game out because of his lower-body injury.
Bertuzzi has shown that he’s capable of much more, even as recently as last season. In 2021-22, he scored 30 goals and added 32 assists in 68 games. That was a career year for him, but he also eclipsed the 20-goal mark in two consecutive seasons from 2018 to 2020.
In his 305 career NHL games, Bertuzzi has amassed 88 goals, 114 assists, and 202 points.
This deal gives the Red Wings more draft capital for a pending free agent, and they have the flexibility to be aggressive in making upgrades this offseason.
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