Red Wings forward Tyler Bertuzzi spoke with the media this afternoon after signing a 2-year, $9.5 million contract with Detroit as a restricted free agent:
NHL.com’s Dave Hogg took note of Bertuzzi’s remarks regarding his rehabilitation from back surgery and the length of the 26-year-old’s contract…
Bertuzzi scored seven points (five goals, two assists) in nine games last season and missed the final 47 games because of a back injury. He had surgery April 30 and is expected to be ready for the start of the season.
“I think two years gives me a chance to show I’m recovered from the back injury and prove that I can stay healthy,” Bertuzzi said. “Last year was very, very tough, physically, mentally and just being in pain every day. Just back to normal life, just doing everything, working out, skating. I’m excited about that.
“No setbacks right now. Everything is going really well actually so I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing, not try to push it. … I don’t want to be too aggressive with it. … I think surgery was the right play and I’m feeling really good right now so I’m very happy with how everything went and the decision that we made.”
Selected by Detroit in the second round (No. 58) of the 2013 NHL Draft, Bertuzzi has scored 126 points (54 goals, 72 assists) in 208 games with the Red Wings. He said he was happy to remain with Detroit after there were rumors he could be traded.
“There’s always going to be rumors and whatnot,” Bertuzzi said. “At the end of the day, I don’t have a say (in a trade), so anything can happen. Obviously, it’s hockey but I can tell you I am glad to be a Red Wing.”
Hogg continues, and the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan took note of Bertuzzi’s remarks regarding the contract negotiations…
“No wanted to go to arbitration, that wasn’t even in our heads,” said Bertuzzi Saturday on a media Zoom call. “We knew we’d get something done and get to even ground. I’m happy we did, and both sides are real happy.
“There wasn’t much going back and forth. Once there was a kind of a little bit of even ground, it was easy to say yes.”
Bertuzzi will be an unrestricted free agent when this contract ends, which he feels, is fair for both sides.
“Whatever works for both sides, it can’t be one-sided,” Bertuzzi said. “This way it gives me two years to prove I can stay healthy and still play and be good, and it gives them (time) to look at me and say ‘he’s healthy and good’
“It worked for both sides. Coming off a back injury, it gives me time to get back and prove myself and to just make sure everything is good.”
As well as what’s next for the Wings and their restricted free agents…
With Bertuzzi signed, the Wings still have Jakub Vrana, Filip Hronek, Adam Erne and Givani Smith as un-signed restricted free agents. Only Vrana and Erne are arbitration eligible, the deadline for filing being Sunday at 5 p.m.
And Detroit Hockey Now’s Kevin Allen circled back to Bertuzzi’s health:
“Last year was very, very tough, physically, mentally, just being in pain every day,” Bertuzzi said.
He tried to rehab without surgery with the hope of returning to the lineup last season. But in the end, surgery was his best option.
GM Steve Yzerman reported earlier this week that Larkin’s rehab was going according to plan. Bertuzzi also offered an optimistic Larkin report.
“We are both getting better, ” Bertuzzi said. “We are skating together, we are kind of on the same schedule, it’s been good progress.”
Update: Here’s a little more from MLive’s Ansar Khan:
“I never thought I’d say I’m excited for training camp, but I am,” Bertuzzi said Saturday, after signing a two-year extension valued at $4.75 million a season.
A promising start to the 2021 season (five goals and seven points in nine games) soon turned to pain and frustration due to back pain. After rest and rehab and multiple attempts to get back on the ice, Bertuzzi finally underwent the procedure on April 30.
“Last year was very tough physically, mentally, just being in pain every day,” Bertuzzi, 26, said.
“I was working out, skating, it would flare up on me again. I think surgery was the right play and I’m feeling really good right now. I’m very happy with how everything went and the decision we made. … Just back to normal life, doing everything, working out, skating.”