A Free Agent signing for the Toronto MapleLeafs this season, Bertuzzi was well-hyped when he signed. Seen as a larger, more gritty player than what the Leafs are used to signing, Bertuzzi became an instant fan favourite with his missing teeth and long “flow” which only amplified his Northern Ontario personality.
The one criticism many hockey pundits and Leafs fans have of Bertuzzi is he is not living up to the $5.5 Million price tag that the Toronto Maple Leafs are paying him.
Why Re-Signing Tyler Bertuzzi is a Good Idea For the Toronto Maple Leafs
On the surface, it makes sense that Bertuzzi is receiving some criticism. After all, Travis Konecny, Zach Hyman, Adrian Kempe, and Josh Anderson all have the same Cap Hit.
However, if you look at Bertuzzi’s career path, you’ll notice a steady pace anywhere between 20-30 Goals and 45-60 Points when he plays a (somewhat) full season. These are fairly similar numbers to those listed at the same Cap Hit. Bertuzzi’s aggression and tenacity is unlike any other player at a $5.5 Million Cap.
Now, don’t mistake me for someone who is defending the current contract Bertuzzi is on. I won’t lie, I am not a complete fan of the $5.5 Million (I believe that his prior contract is perfection). However, I still believe fully that the Toronto Maple Leafs and Brad Treliving will regret not re-signing Tyler Bertuzzi for this season, next season, and possibly beyond.
Firstly, his performance on the ice. Bertuzzi has shown that he can adapt to any role that Keefe gives him. Despite not having a lot of goals, his advanced analytics are excellent.
Although his brief stint on the first line was (in a way) unsuccessful, his current line of Tavares and Nylander seems to be thriving with him on the wing. It is clear that in every Bertuzzi is the one that goes to the hard areas. Bertuzzi is the one mucking it up in front of the net, digging the puck out in the corners and along the wall, and most importantly, creating offensive zone chances due to his gritty play.
These are all things that a quality player possesses and are rare to find in today’s game.
Secondly, his age and potential for more growth is something that should not be overlooked. Bertuzzi is 28 years old. While he may not blossom into this gritty star-caliber play like Marchand (..wait..did I just call Marchand a star? Uh oh..), Bertuzzi will surely be able to improve on his game and improve his chemistry with the team as a whole.
We all know that Bertuzzi is a player who plays with passion the more he plays with a team. Signing him for a decent term may help him invest more in the Leafs and what it means to play in Toronto.
Finally, his versatility. As mentioned before, we have seen Bertuzzi play throughout the line-up. I’m pretty sure if the Leafs needed a goalie (I won’t make a joke..), Bertuzzi would be the first guy who would raise his hand to put the pads on. Now although this is an extreme exaggeration, the point is Bertuzzi is easy to mould into the player that you want him to be. Do you need a guy for the Powerplay? Bertuzzi. How about someone who can be a grinder and be tough? Bertuzzi. There is no role that Bertuzzi can not slide into.
Overall, re-signing Bertuzzi is going to be a tough task. Trevliving is going to have a difficult offseason trying to re-sign all of the UFA’s and RFA’s. However, the main focus (in my opinion) should be Tyler Bertuzzi. If you liked what you read or you thought this article was complete insanity, please find me on Twitter (@ShowtimeWagon) and let me know. I look forward to hearing what you all have to say!