Red Wings: Breaking down the options following latest Tyler Bertuzzi rumor

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /

Detroit Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman will have yet another difficult decision to make in the coming months when it comes to the future of forward Tyler Bertuzzi.

Bertuzzi, 27, is in the final year of his two-year contract that averages $4.75 million per season. The now veteran winger will undoubtedly be looking for a hefty increase in salary and a long-term commitment this summer, but whether that comes from the Detroit Red Wings or elsewhere is going to be the biggest question leading up to the NHL trade deadline.

It’s no secret that Yzerman drives a hard bargain and is shrewd when it comes to negotiations; look back at the deal he made with Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos. Stamkos was minutes away from becoming an unrestricted free agent before the two sides struck a long-term contract.

Now, Bertuzzi isn’t the same caliber of player Stamkos is, and neither is pending free agent Dylan Larkin for that matter. Still, it’s known that Yzerman will have a figure in mind that he feels is fair and won’t impede the growth of Detroit’s rebuild in the coming years. Hopefully, that figure is also acceptable to Bertuzzi and his representatives.

Tyler Bertuzzi is willing to sign a long-term extension with the Detroit Red Wings.

In a recent report by David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period, Bertuzzi is willing to sign a long-term extension with the Detroit Red Wings;

"According to a source close to the organization, Bertuzzi is open and willing to sign an extension with the Red Wings and stay in Detroit beyond this season, providing the right contract can be ironed out between the two parties.The Red Wings held preliminary contract talks with Bertuzzi’s camp earlier in the season and discussions are expected to pick up in the relatively near future."

Regarding the Detroit Red Wings side of Bertuzzi’s negotiations, they will certainly have health concerns. Bertuzzi has broken both hands at different times this season, limiting him to just 13 games. In those 13 games, the rugged forward has only recorded one goal and four points, playing under 16 minutes per night, which followed a career year where he scored 30 goals and notched 62 points over 68 games.

Availability is also an important metric on which a player needs to be evaluated when it comes to these lucrative long-term negotiations, and Bertuzzi hasn’t always been available. Let’s not forget Bertuzzi was limited to nine games two years ago.

If Yzerman and Bertuzzi’s camp are not close on a contract extension as the NHL trade deadline nears, this may be the year Bertuzzi is dealt. Bertuzzi’s name seems at the forefront of trade rumors every year, but nothing ever materializes. If a Stanley Cup contender is willing to part with notable future assets in exchange for Bertuzzi ahead of the trade deadline, that may make Yzerman’s decision a lot easier.

Next. Jakub Vrana’s trade value continues to plummet. dark

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I don’t expect Yzerman will be willing to risk losing Bertuzzi on the open market this summer for nothing in return if talks on an extension are far apart. If discussions seem close, perhaps the Red Wings won’t trade Bertuzzi ahead of the deadline and will continue working to extend Bertuzzi to a deal that allows the Red Wings to remain flexible in the future as they continue to add talent to their young core.

The Detroit Red Wings need to be somewhat frugal regarding long-term contracts knowing that extending Dylan Larkin now, plus Moritz Seider and Lucas Raymond in the coming years, will be their main priority.