Could Tyler Bertuzzi crack the roster for the Red Wings come opening night?


Tyler Bertuzzi may be the only Grand Rapids Griffins player to join the Red Wings roster for the 2017–18 season. At least, he’s one of the most likely Griffins to be on the Detroit lineup.

Bertuzzi is the nephew of former Red Wing Todd Bertuzzi. He was signed by the Wings to a three-year entry-level deal in 2014 after being drafted by the organization 58th overall in the second round of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. He’s a physical defender who can produce offensively and provides a lot of energy on the ice — which can sometimes translate to a lot of time in the penalty box.

The 22-year-old played in seven games with Detroit last season, when Darren Helm and Thomas Vanek were out with injuries, but spent most of the season in the AHL at left wing. In 48 games with the Griffins, Bertuzzi recorded 12 goals, 25 assists (a career high) and 37 points (also a career high) last season. The forward wowed with his playoff performance as Grand Rapids went on to take home the Calder Cup.

As playoff MVP, Bertuzzi produced 19 points in as many games.

Bertuzzi has one year and $661,667 remaining on his contract with Detroit, and the salary cap could stand in the way of him making the 23-man roster. There still hasn’t been definitive news on whether Andreas Athanasiou will be playing in the KHL or Detroit this season, leaving a lot up in the air. The left winger’s future is also dependent on his preseason performance and discipline.

Since Bertuzzi is exempt from waivers, it may be more likely that he rejoins the Griffins in defending their Calder Cup title for the 2017–18 season instead.