The Toronto Maple Leafs need to find players that can bring a different element to the team which is exactly why Tyler Bertuzzi fits that mould.
Before we start to project line combinations featuring Tyler Bertuzzi on the Toronto Maple Leafs, let’s remember that a big part of the off-season is about trying to generate some discussion.
Let’s just say that people are ready to ride with the idea of pencilling in the 26-year-old onto the roster and that usually happens when Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman starts the rumour.
"“One of the guys I’m kinda wondering about is Bertuzzi from Detroit,” Friedman said on Sportsnet 590 The Fan. “I think that’s a guy they’ve had some interest in and he was hurt last year at the deadline. I’m wondering if he’s one of the guys they’re going to look at.”"
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If we know Friedman, he’s not just throwing the name out unless he has some good sources behind it. At the same time, it’s not hard to connect the dots and realize that the fit is an ideal one for Toronto.
Bertuzzi is coming off back surgery that he had on April 30 is expected to be ready for camp. Before playing only nine games this past season, the 26-year-old was coming off back-to-back 20 goal seasons.
Toronto Maple Leafs could look at Tyler Bertuzzi as Zach Hyman’s replacement
Bertuzzi’s status as a pending restricted free agent gives Toronto a chance to try and get him in on a great deal or at least one that makes it easier to overcome the potential loss of Zach Hyman.
It’s become clearer that Hyman will have many options in free agency that would likely price himself out of Toronto. Losing a player like Hyman would be tough for the Leafs considering they don’t really have a player in the system that they can look to as his replacement.
Bertuzzi isn’t an identical player to Hyman but there are traits he brings that can help the Leafs fill that void. He is relentless on the backcheck, loves to play a physical style and might even be a better offensive player.
Would it be nice to have both Hyman and Bertuzzi on the same roster? Of course, but if you watched the Stanley Cup Playoffs, these are the players more teams will try to get on their roster.
So at this rate, Toronto will need to find more cost-effective ways to get those elements on the roster. Bertuzzi would be a nice start if the price to acquire and sign him make sense.
He is coming off a $3.5 million deal and how much more of a pay bump he can get remains to be seen but he shouldn’t expect that much an increase considering he didn’t play that much last season. Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman managed to get value for Anthony Mantha getting Jakub Vrana, a first and a second round pick.
Yzerman won’t get that for Bertuzzi but it certainly set the precedent that Detroit is looking to maximize the assets they have. The Leafs will need to decide how much value they want to put on Bertuzzi and decide if that’s their best option out there.
What are your thoughts on adding Bertuzzi to the team? What would you pay to trade for him and sign him to in his next contract? Let us know in the comments below.