ICYMI: I interviewed Tyler Bertuzzi earlier this season. Check it out.
When the Detroit Red Wings took Tyler Bertuzzi at 58th overall in the draft, I'll admit.. I had a "WTF ARE THEY DOING" moment. I mean, coming into the draft, he was ranking towards the bottom of the draft pool. Nothing really stood out about him, aside from the fact that he was a pesky instigator.
Tyler Bertuzzi started this season on fire, turning heads with his chippy play and ability to score. It came as somewhat of a surprise to everyone, I think.
Tyler's story this season is incredible. After 29 games, Bertuzzi went down with a serious neck/spinal injury. It was unsure for a long time if he would even return anytime soon. After a few months of uncertainty, I was pretty sure he could be done for a long time. Before his regular season-ending injury, Little 'Tuzzi had put up 34 points (9 goals, 25 assists.) Pretty impressive considering he put up 22 points (13 goals, 9 assists) in 43 games last season.
Tyler made a miraculous comeback just in the nick of time. He returned just two games into the OHL playoffs and helped his team make a push towards the ultimate goal (as far as junior hockey goes.) Tyler put up 17 points (10 goals, 7 assists) in 18 games and helped his team win the OHL Championship and move along to the Memorial Cup Tournament.
The Guelph Storm dominated the Memorial Cup. They were a well-oiled machine who seemed to be able to score on command. The booger (Tyler's unofficial nickname, or something) ended up with 5 goals in 4 games, which lead the entire tournament. He scored more goals than the entire London Knights team combined. Unfortunately, Edmonton came to play in the final and pasted Guelph with 6 goals that they just couldn't match. Even with the loss, it was an incredible season for Tyler and the Guelph organization.
Now what? Well, Tyler doesn't have an ELC with the Red Wings yet. He will return to the OHL next season to work on his development before making a jump to the next level. I think there is some serious concern with his health.. The organization wants to see him stay healthy. I think after this season, he has earned a contract.. But part of me hopes that they hold off and make sure that this neck and spine issue doesn't resurface next season.
Bertuzzi is one of those players who EVERYONE hates. Everyone except for the team he plays for and their fans. Why? He's a little shit. He doesn't hesitate to throw a big hit, chirp you, tell you that your mom is ugly, oh and also score on you. He reminds me a lot of Brad Marchand or Andrew Shaw. I know most of you will hate that comparison, but I see it more and more with each game I see him play. Are some of the things he does frowned on? Yeah, probably. Does he do more bad things than good things? Absolutely not. He backs it up, that's for sure. I'm excited to see how he fares in the prospect and training camps this summer. He's grown a lot, and I think he's going to keep on growing.