Tyler Bertuzzi isn’t thinking about his next deal with the Maple Leafs
Photo credit:Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
By Shane Seney2 months ago
Tyler Bertuzzi hasn’t played one preseason game for the Toronto Maple Leafs and already he’s being grilled about re-signing with the team. Bertuzzi was one of the best forwards on the open market last summer and decided he wanted a chance to win the Stanley Cup and signed on with the Maple Leafs on a one-year deal at $5.5 million. Sticking around though? Time will tell.
Bertuzzi, with his ‘hockey smile’ was navigating his first Toronto media scrum earlier this week and let’s just say there were some awkward moments. From not commenting on who Marty Walsh was to laughing off some brutal questions from a few reporters, Bertuzzi got his first taste of what to expect throughout the season.
It was obvious at times Bertuzzi was a bit nervous and didn’t want to get to detailed. He referenced how the media can expect some one word answers and when asked specifically how he’s going to handle the spotlight in Toronto, Bertuzzi had this to say:
It’s obvious that Bertuzzi is a hard-nosed player who is a man of few words off the ice. He’ll let his play do the talking for him and he’s prepping for a very important season in his career.
There’s a good chance the winger will be starting on the team’s top line alongside Auston Matthews and one of Mitch Marner or William Nylander. Bertuzzi admitted he hasn’t thought about that just yet, but let’s get real here, he would not have signed on with the Maple Leafs on a one-year deal if it meant he was coming in to play a checking role and have to grind to make it on the scoresheet. Playing with Matthews and say Marner should do wonders for his individual stats which should relay itself to a hefty pay day. Just ask Michael Bunting. Bertuzzi should easily surpass his career high of 62 points.
Extension Talks Will Remain Fluid
With the hovering potential rise in the salary cap, there were a number of players, not just Bertuzzi who signed one-year deals this past summer. Moving forward, expect to see his representatives have fluid conversations with Maple Leaf general manager Brad Treliving throughout the year. He didn’t come out and say the two sides wouldn’t be negotiating during the season, which is something Matthews didn’t want to be happening and one of the many reasons he wanted a deal done before camp.
Bertuzzi on the other hand will have to let his play do the talking once again. He’s a great fit for this Maple Leafs lineup and should bring a lunch-pail attitude and some much-needed sandpaper to Toronto’s top six. If all goes well, there’s certainly a chance he’ll be signing a lucrative long-term deal to stick around as a Maple Leaf for the foreseeable future. At 28 years old, Treliving and the Leafs could very well lock up their new left winger on at least a five-year deal. Perhaps he’ll sign a four-year extension and mirror Matthews’ contract timelines.
Leafs Nation Can Expect a Hard Worker
Ask any Boston Bruins fan and they’ll tell you how impressed they were with Bertuzzi down the stretch last season and they’ll likely comment about his motor. Not many work harder on the ice and he’s the type of player who will drag his teammates into the fight with scrums after the whistle and so on. Yes, he’ll need to be smart about it and not hurt his team by being in the penalty box. It may come as a bit of a surprise but Bertuzzi’s career high in PIMS is only 47 and in 21 games last season with the Bruins, the pesky forward only recorded three minor penalties.
Work hard and smart, that’s a good recipe for the Maple Leafs newest left winger. Here’s Bertuzzi’s full interview from the Maple Leafs charity golf tournament:
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