Tyler Bertuzzi is slated to become a free agent after the upcoming season. Would the Red Wings be better off resigning him to a big contract, or trading him for a big return?
Surely by now, we've all heard about the situation regarding Detroit Red Wings forward Tyler Bertuzzi. His contract is up after this upcoming season, and speculation has been rampant about what the future holds for him. Does Detroit want to extend him? Or perhaps it makes more sense to trade him? Is there ANY chance they end up simply letting him walk in free agency?
What factors play into the decision with Tyler Bertuzzi?
Tyler Bertuzzi's History with Detroit
Selected in the second round of the 2013 NHL Draft, Bertuzzi has played in 276 games with the Red Wings since his debut in the 2016-17 season. In that time, he has scored 84 goals and 104 assists. He was a fixture on the top line last season with Dylan Larkin and Lucas Raymond.
Before last season, Bertuzzi found himself in a similar situation to this one. After a strenuous process, he ended up signing a two-year deal carrying a $4.75 million cap hit over two seasons. The upcoming season will be the last on his current deal, drumming up tons of speculation about his future.
He also went down a similar route in 2020, after disagreeing with Red Wings management on the terms of his next contract. He ended up with a one-year deal for $3.5 million.
Tyler Bertuzzi's Injury History
A potential red flag that comes up when talking about a long-term contract for Bertuzzi is the back surgery he underwent in April of 2021. He of course returned from the operation, and actually set career highs in goals and assists. He potted 30 goals to go with 32 assists in 68 games the next season.
While the operation didn't seem to slow him down in the next season, it's no secret that back surgery of any recency is not an ideal talking point for a long-term pact.
Tyler Bertuzzi's COVID-19 Vaccination Status a Stopper for Trade Discussions?
Another topic that kept Bertuzzi in recent headlines was his vehement refusal to get the COVID-19 vaccine. This decision rendered him ineligible for games played in Canada last season, which did not force him to change his mind.
Thankfully, COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted in Canada, and Bertuzzi will be allowed to play games outside of the USA this season. If this were not the case, his trade value would likely take a massive hit. But this is now no longer a topic for discussion.
Tyler Bertuzzi – Big Contract or Big Trade Bait?
There are players who are talked about as being big trade pieces every year. Until a contract is signed, Bertuzzi will be one of those players this season.
30 goal scorers don't grow on trees in the NHL. There aren't many teams in the league that would pass on an opportunity to add one to their roster. This will be one of the biggest topics surrounding the Red Wings in the upcoming season. The Red Wings know that he could either be an essential piece in the turnaround but could also be a trade piece with a massive return.
Whether or not he and the Red Wings will agree on a contract beyond this season remains to be seen. But at the very least, the situation will provide fans with a very relevant topic to debate until a resolution is agreed upon.