Many Red Wing fans have been clamouring for Gustav Nyquist or Tomas Tatar to be brought up to the second line, to replace Todd Bertuzzi. Now, I am not here to say Todd Bertuzzi is a top 6 winger; because he is not, but that the Wings need him there.
In Todd Bertuzzi’s first game of the season against the Minnesota Wild, he was placed on Pavel Datsyuk’s wing. He scored 2 goals that game and helped lead the Red Wings to a victory. So far this season, Bertuzzi has 3 points, but it is what he does without the puck that makes him invaluable.
Without the puck he uses his 6’3” 230 pound frame to push opposing players around and establish his presence. Bertuzzi tends to create havoc in the corners and does not allow the defensemen easy opportunities to start the breakout. When called upon he crashes the net looking for rebounds and can handle the beating players take while screening the goalie. If thing get rough or someone takes some liberties with Datsyuk on the ice, you can bet that Bertuzzi is ready to defend him. But the biggest thing Bertuzzi does for Datsyuk is he creates space for the Magic Man to apply his trade. Bertuzzi knows where to be on the ice, which gives his line-mates as much room as they need in order to create scoring opportunities for the Wings.
When Todd Bertuzzi went down with injury, the Red Wings placed Dan Cleary on the second line. Cleary is a bit smaller at only 6’0” and 210 pounds, but he plays similarly to Bertuzzi; making him the ideal choice. Cleary is not afraid of going to the net, screening the goalie, or making hits. Cleary has struggled mightily to create room for his line-mates and cover the opponents top players though. The Wings are looking forward to when Bertuzzi returns to the ice and Cleary can re-join the third line.
Before Bertuzzi joined the line-up against the Minnesota Wild, Datsyuk had 3 points and Filppula had contributed 0 points. With Bertuzzi in the line-up the Red Wing forwards have combined for 15 even strength points. Everyone knows what Datsyuk and Filppula bring to the second line, but Todd Bertuzzi is the unsung hero that makes the line work.
Now we turn to our readers. How do you feel about Todd Bertuzzi?