Detroit Red Wings forward Tyler Bertuzzi is officially back with the team after signing the one-year deal he was awarded in arbitration yesterday; the pact is for one year and $3.5 million, and Bertuzzi can become an unrestricted free agent next offseason.
He met with media members this afternoon for the first time after the deal was made official where he was asked about his feelings regarding the contract, where he revealed that he was grateful and happy to have gotten a deal worked out.
“At the end of the day, I’m playing hockey this year, and we’re going to try and go win some games,” he said. “I’m happy to be back.”
When a player goes to arbitration, the max length of a deal he can receive is for a single year. Bertuzzi didn’t express any regret in not being able to work out a longer deal, though that opportunity will come next offseason.
“I mean it was a mix,” he said about the negotiation process. “Obviously there was a lot of talking going on. At the end the the day, we’re happy with a one year deal. I”m very grateful and I’m happy to be back playing hockey.”
“I wouldn’t say disappointed (in not reaching a long-term deal). I’m very grateful to get this opportunity, I’m going out to prove myself like I did the last few years, and I’m not looking at it any differently.”
“That being said, whether I sign 5, 4,6 years, every year you must perform and work hard and contribute. Even if I signed for 6 years, I play every game like I’m on a one year deal to prove that I’m a good player and can contribute to this team.”
When asked about the business side of the nature of hockey as exampled by the arbitration process, Bertuzzi instead chose to simply focus on the on-ice task at hand.
“Like I said earlier, whatever the term was, it didn’t matter. I go and play every day and work hard and try to be the best I can night in and night out. I’m grateful for the opportunity, and I’m looking forward to the season.”
Before Bertuzzi’s re-signing, the Red Wings were busy in free agency, bringing aboard the likes of Bobby Ryan, Vladislav Namestnikov, Troy Stecher, Jon Merril, and goaltender Thomas Greiss. Bertuzzi is excited for the new additions, and believes that they’ve made the team stronger than the one who finished 31st in the NHL last regular season.
“I love the moves…it’s lookin good,” he said. “It’s looking better than last year and we’re excited to get back.”
“We want to be better as a group, and as I look back on the last 2 years, we need to be better. With the new guys coming in, our mentality going into this season; we had a lot of off-ice training and prep, so we’re looking forward to getting back at it.”