Robert Bortuzzo is a 6’4, 216-pound right-shooting defenseman from Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada. He was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2007 NHL draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins with the 78th overall pick.
The 34-year-old defenseman is with the St. Louis Blues but has yet to play this season.
He has one year left on his contract, which carries a $950,000 cap hit. It’s a cap hit that the Leafs are more than capable of managing. Bortuzzo is a bottom-pairing defenseman that can play 13-15 minutes a game. He missed the end of last season with an injury but is healthy and ready to play. If the Blues aren’t going to play him, maybe a trade with the Toronto Maple Leafs could be made.
Last season, Bortuzzo registered two goals and three assists for five points in 43 games. He recorded 49 blocked shots, 64 hits, seven takeaways, and 12 giveaways. Bortuzzo averaged 12:34 of ice time last season. He could be a serviceable seventh defenseman who can platoon in and out of the lineup.
He is the oldest of the three defensemen I’ve mentioned, but he’s the only one with Stanley Cup-winning experience.
Regardless of how often he plays, that experience is critical. Even when he’s not in the lineup, he could help a young player like Liljegren by teaching him what it takes to win.
If the Toronto Maple Leafs want to win the Stanley Cup, they need to improve their blue-line in several different ways. Getting some physicality and depth would be a great start.