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Report: Tyler Bertuzzi is ‘very willing’ to work with the Leafs on a new contract

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Photo credit:John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Alex Hobson
16 days ago
Outside of some rumblings that the Toronto Maple Leafs and Joseph Woll had the framework of a contract extension done, it’s been all quiet on the Leafs’ front heading into the busiest hockey weekend of the year without any games. With the draft set for Friday and Saturday before the free agency window opens up on Monday, there’s been no shortage of speculation on anything.
Outside of the rampant Mitch Marner discourse and the Leafs’ desire to upgrade on defence, one item that’s been talked about a bunch over the past few days is the ongoing negotiations with Tyler Bertuzzi and Max Domi, who signed one-year deals with the Leafs a few hours apart from each other on the second day of free agency last season. In a piece co-written by James Mirtle and Jonas Siegel of The Athletic, they reported that both players were likely to test the open market.
This may be true, but does that mean they’re not going to be returning? Not so fast, says Chris Johnston.
The TSN insider appeared on Insider Trading where he speculated that both the Leafs and Bertuzzi specifically are willing to exercise patience when it comes to negotiating a new deal.
“Tyler Bertuzzi, who some have thought is out the door in Toronto, that’s not so.” Johnston said. “It sounds like Tyler Bertuzzi is very willing to work with the Leafs when it comes to the length of the contract, even the money. I don’t think this is a case of “pay me this or I’m out the door”, I don’t think there’s any hard lines being drawn, and all things being equal, Tyler Bertuzzi would like to remain in Toronto. But both of them are waiting to see if there is money there, is it a priority for the Leafs as they look to shore up their blue line.”
Bertuzzi is coming off of a 21-goal, 22-assist season for 43 points in 80 games in 2023-24. He struggled to find his footing in Sheldon Keefe’s system at first, but shined in the second half of the year and shared the team lead in first round scoring with four points in seven games.
Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet also touched on the speculation around Domi on the Jeff Marek show, noting that the perceived asking price could be lower than originally reported.
“I know there were reports initially that it would have to be about 5×5.” Friedman speculated. “I don’t think that’s the case right now. I think that I’ve heard the ask is in the 4×4 range, which doesn’t strike me as incredibly unreasonable. But again, I think the Maple Leafs are trying to be, you know, really careful. You know, Domi, I think really wants to stay in Toronto, I think they really want to keep him. But that’s kind of where I heard that some of the fencing is going on right now.”
Domi is coming off of a 47-point campaign with the Leafs in 2023-24, the fourth-highest single-season total over nine years in the NHL.
The Maple Leafs have until Monday, July 1 at 11am to negotiate deals with their pending free agents before they hit the open market. Fans likely shouldn’t expect a deal to be done with either player before then, considering their aforementioned desire to upgrade on the back end, but that doesn’t mean the door is closed for either player.

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