Detroit Red Wings: Tyler Bertuzzi Enters ‘Prove It’ Year After Arbitration Hearing
|Photo Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images|
In the thick of a rebuild, the Detroit Red Wings are slowly stockpiling assets in hoping to be contenders within the next couple of seasons.
After an arbitration hearing that awarded a one-year deal to forward Tyler Bertuzzi, worth $3.5 million, the 25-year old forwards looks to build off another strong season in hopes of becoming part of that future General Manager Steve Yzerman is building.
He knows it’s going to take hard work, and in his press conference after the signing it doesn’t sound like he’s going to take things for granted after making his first All-Star game the year prior.
“Whether I sign five, four, six years, every year you need to perform, you need to work hard to perform,” said the former second round pick in the same draft that also landed the Red Wings Anthony Mantha.
“So even if I signed a six-year deal I’ll play every game like I’m on a one-year deal and just need to prove
every year that I’m a good player and that I want to contribute for this team.”
Not much have gone right for the Red Wings, especially this past season as they suffered one of the worst seasons in recent history.
Even through that, Bertuzzi has emerged as a legitimate top-six goal scorer, and one of the few players Yzerman can count on to fill the back of the net.
With so much talent coming up, a one-year deal is perfect - despite the fact the two sides could find themselves back in arbitration next season - as it gives Bertuzzi another year to prove he is one of the better goal scorers in the league.
With back-to-back 21 goal seasons, has Bertuzzi proven himself a top-line player? Or is he due to regress at some point? I took a look at some of his overlying numbers to try and find out.
Bertuzzi Another Product Of Deep Draft
The 2013 NHL draft will be remembered for brining Nathan MacKinnon into the league, but he wasn’t alone.
There was no shortage of playmakers and impact players to come out of the top of the draft including Seth Jones, Aleksander Barkov, and Bo Horvat, among others. But the further down you went, more and more players have emerged not only as depth/role but also impact players.
Dominik Kubalik was a 30-goal scorer as a rookie with the Chicago Blackhawks this past season, and was a seventh round pick with the Los Angeles Kings. Will Butcher has 95 points in 215 points from the blue line as a fifth round pick.
Andrew Copp has carved out a bottom-six role on the very forward deep Winnipeg Jets team. Ryan Graves showed great chemistry with the reigning Rookie of the Year Calle Makar, and Juuse Saros is potentially ready to take the reigns from Pekka Rinne in Nashville.
All three were fourth round picks.
Jake Guentzel, Anthony Duclair and Brett Pesce were third round picks. Tristan Jarry joined Bertuzzi as first-time All-Stars this past season and were both second round selections.
Shea Theodore went at the end of the first round and was one of the most impactful defensemen in the most recent playoffs for the Vegas Golden Knights.
Bertuzzi has a chance to cement his status as one of the better players in this class with a third straight strong showing.
Bertuzzi: Natural Goal Scorer, or Prolonged Puck Luck?
For a team that finished last in goals, having anyone top the 20-goal mark should be special. In fact, Bertuzzi was the only Red Wing to top that mark this past season. Injuries cut short a season that had Mantha on pace for 20 goals, but finished with just 16.
Dylan Larkin finished with 19, but did more work passing the puck than shooting, and is the only Detroit player with more goals the past two seasons combined than Bertuzzi.
*Numbers courtesy Natural Stat Trick, based off of play at 5v5. Percentile numbers based off of all forwards with at least 500 minutes at 5v5 over past two seasons.
Bertuzzi’s base goal scoring rate numbers are among the best in the league, maybe even more impressive playing on the one of the worst teams in the league.
He definitely grades out as a top-six forward when it comes to his point production. With his G/60 and Pts/60 both hovering right around the 80th percentile. That’s not even mentioning his elite shooting percentage, with a very few better at finishing than Bertuzzi.
The question would be if two-years is enough of a sample size in your own eyes when it comes to where he can keep up the high shooting percentage/low shot rate. His expected goal scoring rate ranks him at the middle of the pack, with his actual goals starting to create separation.
Bertuzzi has scored 31 goals at 5v5 over the past two years, compared to just 22.77 expected markers. While some players can make a career out of outperforming expectations, others cannot.
That’s what makes this season so important, and what makes the one-year deal perfect for both sides.
If Bertuzzi can play above expectation again and put in a third consecutive strong season, he is in line for a big pay day and cements himself as part of the Red Wings’ future core.
What are your predictions for Bertuzzi next season? Does he continue his success as a goal scorer for the Red Wings? Or do some of his numbers catch up to him and he takes a step back? Let us know in the comment section below and follow me on Twitter @AJ_Murfy.