5 questions for Tyler Bertuzzi this season
Photo credit:(Photo from Steven Ellis/Daily Faceoff)
By Shane Seney1 month ago
Welcome back for another edition of 5 Questions as we wait the NHL regular season to start. The Toronto Maple Leafs have lofty expectations in 2023-24 as Leafs Nation awaits a long Stanley Cup Playoff run.
There’s certainly a number of questions to be answered this season and that’s across the board on the Leafs. After showcasing the likes of Ilya Samsonov, Mitch Marner, Auston Matthews and captain John Tavares, here’s five questions for newcomer Tyler Bertuzzi this season:
What’s your ceiling with Matthews & Marner?
Bertuzzi is set to start the year on the Leafs’ top line alongside Matthews and Marner. It’s the best duo Bertuzzi has ever been lined up with and considering he’s already motivated looking for a contract extension in Toronto, it’s truly the perfect set up for the rugged winger. Bertuzzi’s career year came back in 2021-22 with the Detroit Red Wings when he put up 30 goals and 62 points in 68 games. If he stays healthy and can live up to that career best he could be able to hit 85 points after a full season with Matthews and Marner on his line. Bertuzzi’s playmaking abilities have been a pleasant surprise to many in Leafs camp and look for him to set up his new linemates a ton this season.
Are you the new-age Darcy Tucker?
It seems like ever since Tucker left, the Leafs have been trying to fill the void. From the failures of David Clarkson to a decent run for Michael Bunting, the ‘pest’ role has somewhat fallen at the waist side. Is Bertuzzi finally the fit? With his in-your-face style, offensive abilities and love for mucking it up in the dirty areas of the ice, the Sudbury, ON native is in line to be a proper fit for the role. No, the Leafs don’t ‘need’ someone to play Tucker to have success, but it does make it much more entertaining for Leafs Nation.
What’s with the equipment quirks?
Bertuzzi doesn’t tape the knob of his stick and the tongues of his skates are a complete mess. His equipment quirks have caught the entire team off guard including Matthews who admitted he has no idea what’s going on with Bertuzzi before the game. Here’s some more insight into the ‘mess’:
When does a long-term extension get signed?
Bertuzzi was interested in a long-term deal with the Maple Leafs but settled on a one-year deal when new Leafs GM Brad Treliving wasn’t fully comfortable going long term until he had a better idea of how the team would look this season and moving forward. Both sides have mentioned wanting to get something done and can as soon as January 1st rolls around, so look for Bertuzzi’s reps and Treliving to continue the conversation throughout the season. There’s certainly some potential a five-or-six year deal gets done for the 28-year-old pesky winger if he is the fit the Leafs think he is.
Will the Stanley Cup Playoff success continue?
While the Boston Bruins were eliminated by the Florida Panthers in a shocking upset to start the playoffs last season, Bertuzzi was one of the lone bright spots for the B’s. He put up five goals and 10 points in seven postseason games and was on fire in Boston. It was his first taste of the Stanley Cup Playoffs and Bertuzzi impressed the hell out of a lot of people. Leafs Nation is hopeful his game rises once again when it matters most as it would be great to see a nice compliment of secondary scoring in the playoffs so the pressure can be lifted from just the big guns carrying the team.
There we have it folks, another 5 Questions in the books, this time with one of the newest Leafs. Bertuzzi is supposed to be bringing some much needed piss and vinegar to the lineup and it all starts for real on Oct.11 against the Montreal Canadiens.
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