Report: Tyler Bertuzzi will not return to Maple Leafs

Photo credit:John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Arun Srinivasan
21 days ago
Tyler Bertuzzi will test free agency Monday and will not be returning to the Toronto Maple Leafs, TSN’s Darren Dreger reports.
Dreger stated that Bertuzzi will receive a four-year deal worth approximately $5 million annually, but did not name the prospective suitors for the 29-year-old forward.
Bertuzzi was widely considered one of the best free agent forwards available on last year’s market but the circumstances are different this summer, given that his one-year, $5.5 million pact with the Maple Leafs was essentially a prove-it deal. He started the year initially with Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner and didn’t find instant chemistry with the two Maple Leafs’ franchise pillars. Bertuzzi eventually reunited with Matthews to end the season on Toronto’s nominal top line, alongside Max Domi, and it was the team’s most reliable unit during the seven-game first-round loss to the Boston Bruins.
Bertuzzi finished with 21 goals and 43 points in 80 regular season games, adding a goal and four points against the Bruins in the playoffs. It was at times a frustrating year to evaluate Bertuzzi as his analytical profile often suggested he was due for a major offensive explosion, finishing 24th in individual expected goals at 5-on-5 via Natural Stat Trick.
Max Domi signed a four-year extension worth $3.75 million annually on Sunday and it seems likely that it effectively ended Bertuzzi’s negotiation with the Maple Leafs. Domi and Bertuzzi were the headline acquisitions from Toronto’s free agency class last year but the organization effectively chose Domi over Bertuzzi, potentially because of his positional flexibility and second-half ascendance. Domi ended up quietly as one of the premier playmakers in the NHL, finishing tied for 7th in primary assists at 5-on-5.
Bertuzzi’s tenure with the Maple Leafs was short-lived and ultimately, there was hope that the Maple Leafs could retain a player with top-six value and talent, firmly in their prime, with a mix of physicality — snot, if you will — and scoring punch that Treliving desired. Ultimately, Bertuzzi will find a new team in the coming days and will likely be remembered for his output alongside Matthews and Domi in the postseason.

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