Tyler Bertuzzi’s deal part of Red Wings’ promising offseason, flexible future

Tyler Bertuzzi's deal part of Red Wings' promising offseason, flexible future
Getty Images
1 Comment

Following salary arbitration, Tyler Bertuzzi sticks with the Detroit Red Wings for one year at $3.5 million. By itself, the Red Wings’ situation with Bertuzzi is already worth exploring. Beyond that, having Bertuzzi under wraps for one year also opens the door to discuss the Red Wings’ wide-open future.

Right up front, this is a perfectly reasonable deal for the Red Wings. The most interesting questions, for Bertuzzi and the Red Wings at large, revolve around: “What’s next?”

Tyler Bertuzzi covered for 2020-21 with Red Wings: one year, $3.5M

While both the players and teams are in different places with different expectations, the Red Wings’ one-year deal with Tyler Bertuzzi reminds me of the Sabres’ situation with Sam Reinhart.

Overall, it behooves the Red Wings to learn more about how much Bertuzzi can drive the bus himself.

During the past two seasons, Bertuzzi, 25, produced nearly identical results (21 goals each year, 47 points in 2018-19 and 48 last season). That’s pretty good stuff, especially since Bertuzzi did so in 73 and 71 games respectively.

On the other hand, much like Reinhart being boosted by Jack Eichel, Bertuzzi benefits from quality linemates. Since 2018-19, Bertuzzi spent the vast majority of his ice time with Dylan Larkin. Behind Larkin, Anthony Mantha ranked as Bertuzzi’s second most frequent forward linemate. On what’s been a woeful Red Wings team, it doesn’t get better than Larkin and Mantha.

Overall, Bertuzzi can be an offensive asset, but it’s unclear how much his defense drags everything down.

Then again, it’s easier to accept some warts from a younger player who might not break the bank. Would it have been better if the Red Wings could have bought more years from Bertuzzi while not bumping that $3.5M too much higher? Possibly.

That said, it’s likely wisest to find out how crucial Todd’s nephew truly is to the Red Wings.

Red Wings’ future remains wide open

In the short term, the Red Wings still have work to do. Most importantly, RFA Anthony Mantha needs a new contract.

(Now, that might be a player you want to sign long-term. Especially if it’s for a team-friendly cap hit.)

The Red Wings may also want to extend Filip Hronek, as the defenseman is about to enter a contract year. Also, the Red Wings can try to find similar deals to absorbing Marc Staal‘s contract in exchange for a draft pick. This is something I touted for Detroit before 2019-20, and it remains true now.

But looking beyond 2020-21, it’s remarkable just how much flexibility the Red Wings enjoy.

As much as Ken Holland bogged the Red Wings down with lousy term for depth players, most of those mistakes are washing away. If they haven’t already been dealt with, such as the Justin Abdelkader buyout.

From Staal’s $5.7M to Darren Helm‘s $3.85M, and even Henrik Zetterberg‘s $6.083M, the Red Wings see a bunch of money and/or cap space free up after 2020-21.

(Speaking of ghosts of Ken Holland’s past, the last $1.67M installment of the Stephen Weiss buyout finally ends after next season, too.)

With that money clearing, the Red Wings can be aggressive. Maybe that means adding a splashy free agent to accelerate the rebuild. Perhaps Yzerman can swing some nice trades. Even further, the Red Wings could steal some of the Seattle Kraken’s thunder heading into the 2021 Expansion Draft.

Progress with prospects, but not prosperity just yet

While the Red Wings made some progress with their rebuild, they need to add more and more.

On the bright side, experts seemed pretty keen on their 2020 NHL Draft. After stunning observers by selecting Moritz Seider sixth overall in 2019, the Red Wings colored inside the lines by selecting Lucas Raymond fourth this time around. If Raymond meets or exceeds expectations, that could be huge for Detroit.

Raymond ranked as the 17th-best player under 23 via Corey Pronman of The Athletic (sub required), and played a role in Pronman boosting the Red Wings’ prospect pool ranking from 18th to 13th.

Beyond Raymond and Seider, there’s also Filip Zadina and others who might make it, including Joe Veleno.

Still, after missing the playoffs for four straight seasons (and failing to win a playoff series since 2012-13), Red Wings fans might want to see more progress.

That’s where the near future comes in. Can Yzerman continue to add volume, and maybe also gain more blue-chippers? Detroit’s drafted a lot of players lately, including selecting nine second-rounders and six third-rounders over the last three years. Gaining more premium picks may be key, though. (They’ve drafted four instead of the customary three first-rounders during that same three-year period, but Joe Veleno wasn’t far from Round 2 at pick 30 in 2018.)

Much of the Red Wings’ future revolves around developing the Zadinas and Raymonds. Quite a bit also hinges on exploiting opportunities in free agency and trades. Being that Thomas Greiss is 34 and Jonathan Bernier is 32, Detroit should also be alert when it comes to targeting goalies.

Like Bertuzzi entering his contract year, the Red Wings’ most important work lies ahead. They’ve been hit-or-miss in ways that parallel Bertuzzi’s mix of strong offense and shaky defense, too.

We’ll see how both Bertuzzi and the Red Wings progress as 2020-21 goes on.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Teravainen scores late, Hurricanes rally to beat Rangers 3-2

Getty Images
0 Comments

NEW YORK – Teuvo Teravainen scored the tiebreaking goal late in the third period, Frederik Andersen stopped 29 shots and the Carolina Hurricanes rallied to beat the New York Rangers 3-2.

Jalen Chatfield and Stefan Noesen also scored for the Metropolitan Division-leading Hurricanes, who won for the third time in four games.

With the comeback win, the Hurricanes became the second team – following Boston – to reach the 100-point mark this season as Carolina increased its Metropolitan Division-lead over second-place New Jersey to two points and the third-place Rangers to eight.

“That was a great effort. All 20 guys contributed and we got what we deserved,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “If we play like that, we’ll be in good shape. This time of year it gets tougher and tougher.”

Tyler Motte and Kaapo Kakko scored for the Rangers, who had won four straight were 6-0-1 in their last seven. Igor Shesterkin finished with 36 saves as the Rangers played their third game in four nights – the previous two shutout wins at home.

“Igor kept us in there as long as he could and we just didn’t have enough in the tank,” Rangers captain Jacob Trouba said. ”They won more battles and played a hard game.”

Teravainen scored his 11th goal with 2:33 left on a pass from defenseman Brent Burns, redirecting the puck past Shesterkin. The Hurricanes, who trailed 1-0 and 2-1.

“Somehow they left me open in the back side, great pass by him,” Teravainen said of the winning-goal pass to him in the slot. “We knew this would be a tough night. They have a good team. We knew we had to battle to win this game.”

The Rangers led 1-0 entering the third and were vying for their third-straight shutout before Chatfield tied the score at 9:49 – the first goal the Rangers allowed in more than eight periods. New York was coming off a 6-0 win over Pittsburgh on Saturday night with Shesterkin in goal and a 7-0 triumph over Nashville behind Jaroslav Halak on Sunday.

Kakko then put New York back ahead 31 seconds later with his 13th goal, only to have Noesen answer right back 18 seconds later to tie it 2-2.

Motte opened the scoring at the 17-minute mark of the first, knocking the puck past Andersen for his third goal in four games and sixth of the season overall.

The Rangers hadn’t lost in regulation since a 4-2 defeat on March 4 at Boston.

“Tonight we didn’t play near well enough to beat that team,” Rangers coach Gerard Gallant said. ”Honestly, the whole game they outplayed us. They were a lot quicker. They managed the puck real well … We didn’t play our game.”

MILESTONE

Hurricanes captain Jordan Staal played his 729th game with Carolina on Tuesday, tying defenseman Glen Wesley for the second-most games played in franchise history since relocation from Hartford in 1997. Staal, 34, trails only his brother Eric, who played 909 games for the Hurricanes from 2003-16.

UP NEXT

Hurricanes: Host the Rangers on Thursday night to finish the home-and-home set in the opener of a four-game homestand.

Rangers: At Carolina on Thursday night to open a two-game trip.

Ullmark’s 40 saves carries Bruins past Senators, 2-1

ullmark game 2
Getty Images
1 Comment

BOSTON – Linus Ullmark made 40 saves, Jake DeBrusk had the go-ahead goal and the NHL-best Boston Bruins continued their pursuit of the league’s record for regular-season victories with a 2-1 win over the Ottawa Senators.

“I thought he was outstanding and he needed to be,” Boston coach Jim Montgomery said of Ullmark. “Unfortunately we gave up a lot of good looks, a lot of odd-man rushes because of our puck management and he bailed us out like he has all year.”

David Krejci added a power-play goal for Boston, which won its fourth straight.

Dylan Gambrell scored for the Senators and Mads Sogaard made 33 stops.

“We had a shooters’ mentality for two periods,” Ottawa coach D.J. Smith said. “The third period, they’ve won 54 games now, they’re not going to give you an odd-man rush, they’re not going to give you anything. You’re going to have to earn it.”

The Bruins posted their 54th win and with 12 games left are on pace to break the mark of 62, set by the Detroit Red Wings in 1995-96 and matched by the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2018-19.

Chasing the Eastern Conference’s eighth and final playoff spot, Ottawa has lost six of seven following a season-high, five-game winning streak.

Coming off a 3-2 road trip where they won the last three games by a combined score of 15-2 that included two shutouts by backup Jeremy Swayman, the Bruins converted on a two-man, power-play advantage to tie the game at 1 midway into the opening period when Krejci poked in a rebound from the edge of the crease.

DeBrusk completed a nifty play with Brad Marchand when he collected a pass cutting down the slot at full speed, shifted and tucked a rebound past Sogaard at 15:52 of the first period for his 23rd goal.

“It was ‘all world.’ I saw him and he fed it through a lot of guys for a breakaway,” DeBrusk said of the pass. “It was one of those passes where I didn’t know what to do. I was going to point at him (after) but I was going too fast.”

Gambrell’s wraparound score gave Ottawa a 1-0 edge.

“I thought I played a good game today,” Sogaard said. “I just battled and stayed with it the entire way. … These ones are tough because we were so close.”

HEAVY WORKLOAD

Ullmark stopped 22 shots in the second period with at least a dozen of them high-quality chances. During an Ottawa PP, he jumped from a crouch to make a right-shoulder stop on Alex DeBrincat’s bid from in close.

“We talked about it,” defenseman Hampus Lindholm said of the second period. “We know we’re a good team in the third and wanted to tighten it up for him. … They got a lot of chances that were our own fault in the second.”

WOMEN IN SPORTS NIGHT

The Bruins highlighted women who work and compete in the sports community, having Olympic gold medalist and Boston Pride defender Kali Flanagan accompany Bruins players during pregame walk-ins along with local high school scholastic award winners. In addition, in-arena host Michaela Johnson handled the PA for the night and they also left yellow roses at the seats of female reporters.

NOTES: The Senators entered the game as the only team holding an advantage in their series against the Bruins this season, winning twice in three games. … Montgomery said after the morning skate that defenseman Derek Forbort would likely be sidelined with a lower-body injury at least through the rest of the regular season. … DeBrusk, playing on the top line most of the season, is four off his career-high goal total, set in 2018-19.

UP NEXT

Senators: Host Tampa Bay on Thursday.

Bruins: Host longtime rival Montreal in an Original Six matchup Thursday.

Boldy’s goal with 1.3 left in OT lifts Wild over Devils

Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
0 Comments

NEWARK, N.J. – Matt Boldy scored with 1.3 seconds left in overtime and Filip Gustavsson made a career-high 47 saves to give the Minnesota Wild a 2-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils.

The game was a chippy, defensive struggle. After two scoreless periods, the Devils were outshooting the Wild 22-19.

Minnesota finally broke through 6:41 into the third when Mason Shaw scored his seventh goal of the season on a wraparound.

Timo Meier answered for the Devils five minutes later with his 35th goal of the season on a wraparound of his own.

New Jersey was unable to convert on a late power play, and the teams went to overtime.

It was a back-and-forth five minutes of extra hockey, with both goaltenders making good saves. After Jack Hughes hit the post for the Devils, the puck caromed off a post to Boldy and he beat the buzzer with his 23rd goal of the season.

Vitek Vanecek stopped 27 shots for New Jersey.

NOTES: The Devils are 10-4 in overtime, while the Wild improved to 4-5.

UP NEXT

Wild: Play at Philadelphia on Thursday night.

Devils: Play at Buffalo on Friday night.

Avalanche coach Jared Bednar signs extension through 2026-27

Bednar
Getty Images
0 Comments

DENVER — Colorado Avalanche coach Jared Bednar has signed a three-year extension that will keep him in charge of the reigning Stanley Cup champions through the 2026-27 season.

The new deal for the winningest head coach in club history kicks in once the current contract runs out after the 2023-24 season.

Bednar, 51, is the only person to win championships in the ECHL, AHL and NHL as head coach. He directed the Avalanche to their third Stanley Cup title in team history last season by beating Tampa Bay, the two-time defending champions.

This season, the Avalanche have dealt with an array of injuries, which include missing captain Gabriel Landeskog all year after he underwent knee surgery in October. But they’re starting to creep closer to being healthy – and working their way up the standings. Colorado is riding a six-game winning streak to remain in a tight race with Dallas and Minnesota for the Central Division crown. The top spot in the Western Conference is in play, too.

“Jared has done a tremendous job behind the bench and certainly deserves this extension and to continue as the leader of our team,” Joe Sakic, the team’s president of hockey operations, said in a statement.

It wasn’t the prettiest of starts for Bednar in his inaugural season for Colorado. In 2016-17, his team amassed only 48 points (22-56-4) to finish last in the league. Since then, it’s been full steam ahead for Bednar and the Avalanche. They became the first NHL squad to go from worst to first in a span of four seasons or less since the 1970-71 Bruins, according to research by the team.

In addition, Bednar has led the Avalanche to five straight playoff appearances – and is closing in on a sixth – to become the first Avalanche coach to accomplish the feat. His 40 postseason wins are the second-most in team history, trailing only Bob Hartley (49).

“His strength as a communicator, his relationship with the players, the way he prepares each and every day is a huge reason our team has been so successful,” general manager Chris MacFarland said. “He is an exceptional leader.”

Bednar is currently the third-longest tenured coach in the league, behind only Tampa Bay’s Jon Cooper (March 2013) and Pittsburgh’s Mike Sullivan (December 2015).

“Being able to lead this team over the last seven years has been a privilege,” said Bednar, whose team faces the Penguins on Wednesday. “I am grateful and excited to have the opportunity to continue building on what we’ve accomplished so far.”

Bednar captured a Kelly Cup (ECHL) with the South Carolina Stingrays in 2009, along with a Calder Cup (AHL) with the Lake Erie Monsters in 2016.