There’s no doubt that I delight in lampooning Todd Bertuzzi. Obviously, there’s our once-weekly Bertuzzday award (we’ll probably start that again next season, in some form): a token of shame given out because of the Steve Moore debacle. Even beyond that, Bertuzzi has been a goat in the eyes of many bloggers for pure hockey reasons, as he underwhelmed onlookers while bouncing from the Panthers to the Red Wings to the Ducks and Flames.
A strange thing happened on his way back to the Motor City, though. While no one would mistake him for the dominant force he was for a few impressive seasons with Markus Naslund in Vancouver, Bertuzzi started to resemble the player who once made an impact on the league. Watching him protect the puck and bring it into tough areas after years of witnessing him shy away from contact and earn the title of Largest Perimeter Player/Floater was, frankly, quite stunning.
Could it be that he was just trying to save his career? That’s not clear just yet, but it looks like the Detroit Red Wings want to bring Big Bert back. Here’s more from the Detroit Free Press.
The Wings have offered a two-year deal to unrestricted free-agent forward Todd Bertuzzi. They also have extended qualifying offers to all five of their restricted free agents: forwards Patrick Eaves, Drew Miller, Justin Abdelkader and Darren Helm and defenseman Derek Meech. There have been some preliminary talks with the agents for Eaves and Miller. Eaves, Miller and Meech all have arbitration rights.
NOTEBOOK: Tomas Holmstrom officially signed his two-year deal Monday, putting the Wings at $52.245 million in salaries toward next season. The cap is expected to rise $2 million to $58.8 million, leaving roughly $6.5 million in cap space. Besides re-signing Bertuzzi and the five restricted agents, the Wings will use what is left toward a veteran defenseman — possibly Andreas Lilja — and seeing if there’s a gritty forward available via free agency.
(The story also details the fact that the team is very close to signing general manager Ken Holland and assistant general manager Jim Nill to contract extensions.)
While I cannot help but wonder if we’ll see the floating Bertuzzi return soon enough, the Red Wings are justified in thinking that they can contend with last year’s group (plus the helpful addition of one year cast-off Jiri Hudler). The only issue is that Bertuzzi and the Red Wings aren’t exactly spring chickens, either. Then again, I guess that’s another discussion for another day.
We’ll let you know once/if a deal is signed. From the sounds of things, though, it looks like Bertuzzi will remain in Detroit.