Tyler Bertuzzi Finding His Game Can be as Big as Any Trade for the Maple Leafs

Anaheim Ducks v Toronto Maple Leafs
Anaheim Ducks v Toronto Maple Leafs / Claus Andersen/GettyImages
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At the time I'm writing this the Toronto Maple Leafs have just had an awful performance against the Boston Bruins.

While the game was a rather embarrassing showing the Toronto Maple Leafs have still been pretty good as of late with an 8-2-0 record in the last ten games.

One of the biggest things for me is Tyler Bertuzzi finally finding the back of the net five times in the last five games. The Maple Leafs General Manager Brad Treliving handed Bertuzzi $5.5 million dollars over a year this offseason (All salary stats from CapFriendly.com).

It has been a tough season so far for Bertuzzi. He has played 60 games this season and has posted 12 goals and 16 assists for 28 points. Hopefully, this stretch of him finding the back of the net will help his confidence grow and get him on a roll.

This hot streak is a welcome sign for the Maple Leafs as all year a big talking point all year is who is going to score outside of the core four.

Bertuzzi Finding His Game for the Toronto Maple Leafs

The Leafs need a top-four, right-shot defenseman there is no denying that. While that is rather obvious Bertuzzi playing his game can be just as impactful for the Leafs.

In Boston Bertuzzi played a fantastic series against Florida posting five goals, and five assists for ten points before ultimately being eliminated in game seven. Bertuzzi plays a playoff-style game. He is always at the top of the crease, making life difficult for the opposing goaltender. If you watched the Leafs first series win since 2004 it wasn't hard to see how effective the traffic was in front of Andrei Vasilevskiy.

For the most part, I thought Bertuzzi was playing a solid game for most of the year but he didn't have much to show for it. He was doing a lot of things well on the ice but that doesn't mean much when you're being paid $5.5 million and can't put the puck in the back of the net or even produce that many assists.

Sheldon Keefe decided to put him on the first powerplay as John Tavares has been faced with a little bit of a diminished role. Bertuzzi was playing on the first powerplay unit in Boston and was great on it. He scored three of his five goals on the powerplay in that series and this recent promotion may have sparked something for him.

His role on this team is very important and could have a big impact on how far this team goes. Last year Ryan O'Reilly was brought in to be a gritty, net-front, playoff performer. While Bertuzzi isn't a center I can still see Bertuzzi playing a similar role in the playoffs. Having guys willing to go to the dirty areas of the ice is a must for any team looking for playoff success.

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The game gets tighter in the playoffs and there isn't much open ice so 'garbage goals' are a must if you want to succeed. Bertuzzi provides that.