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“Definitely something I’m open to: Tyler Bertuzzi on potentially re-signing with the Maple Leafs

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Photo credit:© John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Joseph Zita
1 month ago
When the team announced they had signed Tyler Bertuzzi to a one-year contract on the second day of free agency, a good part of this fan base jumped for joy for a couple of reasons. One, Brad Treliving rebounded after signing John Klingberg and Ryan Reaves the day prior and two, the Maple Leafs got themselves a good player who brings a particular element.
But Bertuzzi’s time in Toronto didn’t get off to the best of starts. The 29-year-old got off to a slow start with his new team, and his struggles continued into 2024 before he caught fire in mid-February, finishing the season with 15 goals and 22 points in the final 29 games.
When you look at his overall season, it was productive for the price tag attached to him. With 20 + goals and 43 points, while also playing to get under the other team’s skin, Bertuzzi was a good fit in the Maple Leafs’ top six once the puck started to go in the net for him. However, the unfortunate part is he’s set to become a UFA on July 1st. Of course, he can always re-sign in Toronto, which would be welcomed. But after another first-round loss and potential changes forthcoming, who knows what this team does?
Earlier this morning, during locker room cleanouts, Bertuzzi was asked about potentially re-signing in Toronto, a six-hour drive from where he grew up. His response: “Definitely something I’m open to”, according to David Alter of The Hockey News.
The Sudbury native also added that his family loved their time in Toronto this season, and given Bertuzzi is 29 years old, it’s safe to suggest his next contract might be the biggest he signs, that’s if he, his camp, and the Maple Leafs or any team don’t sign him to another one-year deal before cashing in on his next one.
During last off-season, roughly two months after Toronto signed Bertuzzi to his one-year contract, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman was on Sportsnet Today to talk about the Maple Leafs, and he dropped a little juicy nugget.
“I’m of the belief that Toronto wanted to sign Bertuzzi longer, and I think Bertuzzi wanted to sign longer, but they just didn’t have the ability to do it now. Well, what does that mean after January 1st, when they’re able to sign him to an extension?”
Now, that could’ve changed. It was a quote from late August. But after thinking back to this quote from Friedman, the fact Bertuzzi is from Northern Ontario, Toronto had tried to get him on their team even when Dubas was the GM and expressed how much his family loved Toronto, it wouldn’t come as a surprise at all if the two sides could work something out on a longer-term deal.
It made sense why both sides settled on a one-year deal. As Friedman mentioned, Toronto couldn’t initially go longer because their priorities were Auston Matthews and William Nylander, and locking those two guys up to their monster contracts first. Now that they’re locked up for the next four to eight years, does it make it easier to sign Bertuzzi to a long-term deal?
Bertuzzi isn’t the only player the team will have to decide on before they hit the open market on July 1st. He joins a long list of pending UFAs like Domi, Brodie, Edmundson, Giordano, Lyubushkin, Samsonov, Murray, and Jones. The team also has some pending RFAs to take care of as well. It’ll be another busy and fascinating off-season for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
(Stats from hockey-reference.com)

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