39-Year-Old Right Wing – Free Agent
Todd Bertuzzi Contract Information:
Became an unrestricted free agent in July 2014.
Bertuzzi will replace Tomas Jurco in the lineup for Thursday's Game 4 against Boston, the Detroit Free Press reports.
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Todd Bertuzzi: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Bertuzzi is attempting to return from a back injury that kept him out of most of the season and playoffs. He's still a big presence, but his scoring has markedly dropped off over the last few years. If he remains in Detroit, he will likely be used more as a grinder on the third or fourth line.
Ice time continues to slip away for Bertuzzi and at age 37, his offensive production may be in danger of sliding below the 35-point threshold as well. As a checking-line player, Bertuzzi could remain an asset for the Wings even as a 15-minute player, but the dwindling power-play time will continue to chip away at the remnants of his fantasy value. Since the Wings failed to bring in another top-six forward in free agency, there's a chance that Bertuzzi will see occasional work with Pavel Datsyuk or Henrik Zetterberg, but it's more likely that he'll slide back into the aforementioned veteran checking role as Dan Cleary or Mikael Samuelsson should offer more offensive upside at this stage of their respective careers.
Bertuzzi reached the 40-point mark for the fourth consecutive season, but he's an aging veteran clearly in the midst of a decline. Although he's missed just one regular season game in the last two seasons, Bertuzzi has compiled a minus-14 rating during that time and his lack of power-play opportunities limits his fantasy value because he fails to carry owners in any one category. Fortunately for Big Bert, he looks to be in position for one more spin as a top-six forward, and it should be riding shotgun to Pavel Datsyuk or Henrik Zetterberg, which keeps the floor reasonably high even if the ceiling is low for him at age 36.
Bertuzzi's second stint in Detroit went much better than his first as he managed to stay healthy for all 82 regular season games, a feat he had not accomplished since 2005-06. Even with chances to skate on line centered by Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk, he only racked up 44 points (18 G, 26 A) while carrying a minus-7 rating. The Wings were pleased with Bertuzzi's conditioning and durability, rewarding the 35-year-old with a two-year deal to ensure that they'd have a third big body to keep in front of opposing netminders when Johan Franzen and Tomas Holmstrom aren't pestering them. For those in deeper leagues, there's moderate value here, but Big Bert isn't going to ride on the top power-play unit and his value will take a big hit if he's bumped out of the top-six ranks with the return of Jiri Hudler from a one-year stint Russia.
Bertuzzi has averaged 15 missed games over the last two seasons, finishing with 40 and 44 points in those campaigns with Anaheim and Calgary. At 34, the likelihood of another injury is pretty high, while his skill set doesn't appear to be the same as it was in the early part of the decade when he was a point-per-game guy with Vancouver. Returning to Detroit won't hurt his production, where the Wings are going to be looking for secondary scoring following the departure of key role players in Mikael Samuelsson and Jiri Hudler in addition to star winger Marian Hossa's defection to Chicago. Let someone else deal with the risk on draft day.
Injury problems and off-ice issues have plagued Bertuzzi the last two seasons, as he only played in 15 games in 2006-07 and scored 40 points in 68 games last season. Forty points is not terrible, but anyone expecting Bertuzzi to resurrect his 70-90 point dominance from his Vancouver days will be disappointed. Bertuzzi has lost a step, and did not look great for Anaheim or Detroit the last two seasons, so do not waste any sort of early pick on him.
Bertuzzi spent most of last year on the shelf with a back injury, though he showed signs of life with seven points in 16 playoff contests with Detroit last season. Still, questions remain as to whether he'll be able to play a full slate of games and stay productive. Given that he'll be paired with a very good play-making pivot in either Ryan Getzlaf or Andy McDonald, the opportunities to resurrect his career in Anaheim should be bountiful on the ice. Avoid him the early rounds with the hope that he'll stay healthy all year, but consider him a mid-to-late round upside pick.
Remember how refreshed Dany Heatley looked last season after being given the opportunity to start anew with Ottawa? The circumstances might be different, but we expect the results to be similar with Bertuzzi's excursion to the sunny south. He might not get to the 100-point plateau he once flirted with, but an improvement on his 71 points from last season seems to be a given.
One of the premier power forwards in the game. He finished in the top 10 in scoring in 2001-02 & 2002-03, with seasons of 85 and 97 points, respectively. Will look to rebound from the terrible incident with Steve Moore. Will the incident make Bert a little more timid and less aggressive? It is possible, but it doesn’t seem likely as he said he will not change his style of play. If he does continue to play his usual style, look for a return to the 35 to 40 goal range.