Sportsnet’s Fox talks restricted free agents, including Tyler Bertuzzi and Anthony Mantha

Sportsnet’s Luke Fox discusses the respective contractual situations of 16 restricted free agents of note this morning, including Red Wings RFA’s Tyler Bertuzzi and Anthony Mantha.

Here’s his take on Bertuzzi’s prospects for a contract upgrade…

11. Tyler Bertuzzi
Age: 25
Position: Left wing
2019-20 salary cap hit: $1.4 million
Arbitration rights: Yes

Bargaining chips: Made first All-Star Game appearance. Back-to-back 21-goal, 47-point seasons. Skates nearly 20 minutes a night. Organization has invested seven years developing him into a first-line threat.

The latest: One of the few bright spots on a sad-sack Red Wings, Bertuzzi has over-delivered on his two-year, $2.8-million bridge pact signed back in 2018 and deserves a nice pay bump.

Of the seven(!) pending RFA forwards GM Steve Yzerman still must make decisions on, Bertuzzi is the most essential. (Yet Robby Fabbri got his extension first.) Yzerman began clearing space by trading away another pending RFA, Andreas Athanasiou, at the deadline to Edmonton.

And he offers this about Mantha…

16. Anthony Mantha
Age: 25
Position: Left wing / Right wing
2019-20 salary cap hit: $3.3 million
Arbitration rights: Yes

Bargaining chips: Puts up the same points per game (0.88) as Barzal. Plays nearly 19 minutes a night. Managed 38 points in 2019-20 despite being hampered with injuries. Consecutive 24-goal, 48-point efforts in 2017-18 and 2018-19.

The latest: When healthy, Mantha is a beastly winger and dependable contributor to Detroit’s top six. The drawback here is an injury history that has prevented Mantha from playing more than 70 games in all but one of his five pro years.

As well as a bit of an eye-roller:

A segment of trade-hungry Habs fans have made the case for the Canadiens to explore a trade possibility and bring the Quebec native home.

I don’t expect Steve Yzerman’s negotiations with Bertuzzi or Mantha to be simple or easy in a flat cap world, but I do expect the Red Wings to be able to sign both players to contracts before the start of the 2020-2021 NHL season.

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George Malik

My name is George Malik, and I'm the Malik Report's editor/blogger/poster. I have been blogging about the Red Wings since 2006, when MLive hired me to work their SlapShots blog, and I joined Kukla's Korner in 2011 as The Malik Report. I'm starting The Malik Report as a stand-alone site, hoping that having my readers fund the website is indeed the way to go to build a better community and create better content.

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