Instead of trading Bertuzzi, Red Wings sign him for two years

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At least in the short term, Red Wings fans and media can probably put the Tyler Bertuzzi trade rumors to rest. Maybe.

No Tyler Bertuzzi trade: Red Wings sign him for two years

Instead of trading the winger, the Red Wings announced a two-year contract for Bertuzzi. While the Red Wings didn’t confirm the cap hit, reports indicate that Bertuzzi’s cap hit will be $4.75 million.

Bertuzzi, 26, has been in the NHL for five seasons — technically. He was limited to nine games played due to back surgery in 2020-21, and also got his first NHL cups of coffee (seven games) in 2016-17.

After a decent 48 games in 2017-18, the Red Wings got their longest looks at Bertuzzi in 2018-19 and 2019-20. During those two seasons, Bertuzzi established himself with 21 goals each time, and seasons of 47 and 48 points.

Not bad, even if he enjoyed those strong seasons mostly attached to Dylan Larkin.

So, a pretty good player, albeit one who doesn’t necessarily scream “essential” for a rebuilding team. (Especially with his injury issues. Also because it’s not as clear how much of his previous success stemmed from Larkin and/or Anthony Mantha.)

That “falling somewhere in the middle” feeling extends to Bertuzzi’s underlying metrics. Consider his Evolving Hockey player card, which combines his impact in this past (limited) season, and his two years of largest NHL activity.

Time will tell if Bertuzzi will really be part of Red Wings’ core

Ultimately, it might be more accurate to consider the Bertuzzi trade rumors “delayed,” rather than totally muted.

After all, the Red Wings traded Anthony Mantha fairly shortly after signing him to a perfectly reasonable contract. The Red Wings might use Bertuzzi’s two-year contract to determine that he’s part of the core. On the other hand, they may also want to pump up his trade value. That thought resonates especially because, while Detroit’s rebuild is in a solid place, they could still use some “impact” prospects.

Much like the Red Wings’ larger rebuild, the Bertuzzi signing has a feeling of “to be continued.”

(Speaking of that Mantha trade, the Red Wings still have to sign Jakub Vrana. It remains to be seen if he will be part of the Red Wings’ core, too.)

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James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Instead of trading Bertuzzi, Red Wings sign him for two years originally appeared on NBCSports.com