What do we know about Tyler Bertuzzi?
Well aside from the obvious fact that he is the nephew of Detroit's Todd Bertuzzi, we don't know much.
Tyler came into the 2013 NHL Entry Draft ranking at 207 and seemed to blend into one of the deeper draft pools we have seen in a while.
If you were to ask me back in June how I felt about Detroit taking Bertuzzi 58th overall, I would have probably explained my feelings with throwing my head into a wall. I mean, it was a free pick, right?
But that was before I knew who he was and what he was capable of... When I spoke with Guelph Storm coach Scott Walker about Bertuzzi he described him as a "multi-dimensional player" who when he is at his best can be a "serious threat to the opposing team." Multi-dimensional is right, seeing that Tyler has been serving time on both the power play and penalty kill.
Before the game, I had a chance to sit down with Tyler and ask him a few questions..
Kyle: How does this season differ from others, now that you have been drafted by an NHL team?
Tyler: Not anything, really. The way I look at it is just because you're drafted doesn't mean you change your game, you just go out there and play how you have been. You just gotta play like the Red Wings are always watching.
Kyle: Your stats have greatly improved every season since your rookie campaign.. How do you feel moving forward with your development and what would you like to improve on?
Tyler: I think just being a multi-dimensional player is huge for me, being able to play the power-play, penalty kill, 4 on 4, basically anywhere the coach needs me, I want him to be confident that I will succeed.
This next answer, I am not too fond of. But hey, kids will be kids.
Kyle: Who is a current and past NHL player that you want to model your game after?
Tyler: If I had to pick a current player it would have to be Steve Ott. Past is definitely Wendel Clark, even though I didn't get to watch him play.
Kyle: This year you got to attend Detroit's Development Camp.. What did you learn and what did coaches say you need most work on?
Tyler: Yeah, Dev Camp was a huge wake up call. Super nervous, and all that good stuff.. Obviously a lot of feedback from coaches, which is a good thing. I think skating was the biggest thing, just working on my first three strides. Getting bigger, stronger, faster is another thing as well.
A couple of other things I found out about Tyler: He likes country music, his favorite food is steak & pasta, and one of his biggest hobbies outside of hockey is fishing.
Last season, Tyler put up 22 points (13 goals, 7 assists) in 43 games.
This season, he has put up 30 points (7 goals, 23 assists) in 24 games..
Now that's progress, eh?
Since the draft, Tyler has put on about nine pounds of muscle and has grown a couple of inches. Tyler turns 19 in February so there is plenty of room for growth. My guess is that he spends another year in the juniors after this season further developing his skill and his size.
Onto the game itself..
Tyler shows off his ability to crash the net with intensity - Rena Laverty
Tyler played on the third line in this game, but even though it was the third line, they started each period on the opening face off. Tyler quickly makes his presence felt with smart puck movement and efficient strides. In other words, homie can SKATE! He managed to stay out of the penalty box in this tilt, but you can tell he likes to start a ruckus. You'll see him chirping at other players throughout the game.
One thing I really enjoyed about Tyler's game is that he does not hesitate to clog up the opposing team's net. He setup shop in front of Plymouth Whalers net-minder Alex Nedeljkovic to create some terrific chances for his team to score.
As I said previously, Tyler has been described as a multi-dimensional player, and boy is he ever. He served ice time on the power play, penalty kill, 4 on 4, AND he was 3/4 in the face off dot.
He got caught in a few situations where he got a bit too cute with the puck and it forced a turnover.. But other than that, Tyler had a very strong game against Plymouth finishing with one assist and a +1 rating in Guelph's 6-2 win over the Whalers. (There was a total of 97 shots and four goals from LA King defense prospect Zac Lesley in this game.. WOW!!)
Full game summary
So, before today, I wasn't much a fan of Tyler. After hurting Nick Jensen in a fight, and just being a strange pick to go 58th overall.. I was indifferent about him. But I gotta say, I feel good about Mr. Bertuzzi going forward with the way he is developing. He is getting all sorts of praise from scouts and coaches. Maybe this was another crazy Ken Holland draft pick magic trick? Who knows. All I know is that the kid ain't half bad. Keep an eye on him, folks. He's the kind of player that you can stick wherever you want, and he'll do a great job...