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Leafs Sign Former Red Wings Bertuzzi to One-Year Deal

Bertuzzi missed 32 games last season through injury

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Tyler Bertuzzi, Boston Bruins

As Shane Gostisbehere was discussing his one-year contract with the Detroit Red Wings, he was talking about how it was a case of betting on himself.

Tyler Bertuzzi bet on himself this season. Now he’s being forced to double down on his wager.

Unable to land the hoped for 5-7 year pact he was seeking as an unrestricted free agent, the fomer Red Wings forward was eventually settling for a one-year, $5.5-million contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday.

There are winners and losers in every UFA season. At the moment, it only seems appropriate to slot Bertuzzi into the latter category.

According to Boston Hockey Now, he was opting to walk away from a deal with the Boston Bruins that would’ve provided him with more money and term than his Toronto contract. There has been chatter since Thursday that the Bruins and the Bertuzzi camp were in agreement on a $6M AAV, but that the Bruins were offering four years on the term and Bertuzzi was seeking six, maybe even seven years.

Injuries Hindering Bertuzzi

Evidently, with Bertuzzi coming off an injury-plagued 2022-23 campaign and barely two years removed from season-ending back surgery, teams were reluctant to invest long-term into a player whose game is a punishing, physical style.

With Detroit last season, he would miss almost all of training camp due to an undisclosed injury. Twice during the season, Bertuzzi was shunted to the sidelines after suffering broken bones when hit by shots. Limited to 50 games, he was only able to generate eight goals. That was a significant drop-off from the career-high 30 goals Bertuzzi netted during the 2021-22 season.

Bertuzzi has missed 119 games over the past three seasons.

Dealt by Detroit to Boston at the NHL trade deadline, Bertuzzi seemed to find his footing with the Bruins. In 21 games for Boston, he would account for 4-12-16 numbers. That was better than a 4-10-114 digits he’d posted in 29 games for the Red Wings.

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Bertuzzi would earn a share of Boston’s leading goal scorer (five) and points producer (10) during the players. The Bruins were anxious to keep him in the fold. However, Bertuzzi made the decision to opt into UFA status. It didn’t lead to the reward of a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow this time. However, should be put in a solid campaign with the Maple Leafs, untold riches could still be coming his way a year from now.