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Tyler Bertuzzi Joins Griffins after Dominant OHL Season

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Jennifer Leigh Photography

Tyler Bertuzzi's OHL career came to an end Tuesday night when the Guelph Storm were eliminated by the Sault St. Marie Greyhounds in a 2nd round playoff sweep. Despite the disappointing exit, Bertuzzi made it a season to remember. He's been assigned to the Grand Rapids Griffins and the nest stage in his career can begin.

It only takes a quick look at Bertuzzi's career OHL stats to see the impressive contrast between this season and previous seasons. He put up more points this year than his previous 3 seasons combined!

Season Team GP G A PTS +/- PIM
2014-15 Regular Season Guelph Storm 68 43 55 98 26 91
2013-14 Regular Season Guelph Storm 29 9 26 35 9 49
2012-13 Regular Season Guelph Storm 43 13 9 22 -2 68
2011-12 Regular Season Guelph Storm 61 6 11 17 2 117
Total: 201 71 101 172 35 325
Playoffs
Season Team GP G A PTS +/- PIM
2015 Playoffs Guelph Storm 9 6 2 8 -5 10
2014 Playoffs Guelph Storm 18 10 7 17 14 24
2013 Playoffs Guelph Storm 5 0 0 0 0 14
2012 Playoffs Guelph Storm 6 0 2 2 0 7
Total: 38 16 11 27 9 55

Bertuzzi was finally healthy this season after dealing with recurring head and neck issues that limited his number of games for the past 2 years. Before coming to Detroit to receive treatment from the Wings medical staff last summer, Bertuzzi said he was a little scared that his career may have been over. Thankfully it appears those issues may be behind him.

With a full season worth of games, Tyler Bertuzzi made his way to the top of the Ontario Hockey League in ways many may not have expected. Bertuzzi amassed 98 points (43G, 55A) in 68 games, finishing the regular season...

  • 10th in OHL points
  • 7th in OHL goals
  • 12th in OHL assists
  • 13th in OHL power play goals
  • 9th in OHL shootout percentage (.600 --> 3 goals on 5 attempts)
  • Tied for team lead in goals
  • 1st on Guelph in points by a margin of 26
  • 1st on Guelph in plus/minus
  • 1st on Guelph in power play goals by a margin of 5

When Little Bert entered the Ontario Hockey League 3 years ago, he made a name for himself by being a tough guy who wasn't afraid to drop the gloves, and he had 15 fighting majors in 61 games to prove it. Bertuzzi's pre-draft NHL rank was 207th, which would have been 5th from last in the draft, which is why it was so surprising when the Wings took him 58th overall with their 2nd round pick. When he first joined the Guelph Storm as an unsigned 16 year old, after an impressive training camp, Gulph GM Mike Kelly said of Bert

"He was young and inexperienced but you could see he was going to be an agitator . . . a gamer . . . a winner. (Guelph Tribune)

Recently, Jeff Marek and Sam Cosintino were talking about Bertuzzi on their "Junior" podcast and their descriptions of him and his play are both educated and insightful.

"[Guelph] has a player that I personally love watching. You hate to play against him, you love it when he's on your team, fans love him, he's a cult hero in Guelph, and that's Tyler Bertuzzi... He has at times almost an awkward style of play about him by way of body positioning. He's that bamboo shoots under the fingernails tough guy to play against and the Detroit Red Wings have a nifty one on their hands. At the end of the day he's just a fun one to watch." - Jeff Marek

"He's great to watch. He really plays the role well because he'll throw a legit hit at you and then when nobody's looking he'll stick you or skate by after the whistle and whack you in the back of the legs or do something a little untoward and you try and yap at him and he'll yap back at you; but he also has the ability to respond with his goal scoring ability and play making ability. He's a really interesting prospect in that all the things he does now would make him successful in the National Hockey League, but is his game going to translate? Is he going to be able to play that way, be the pest, be the guy who throws the hit, taps the guy in the back of the legs at a faceoff ect? Can he be that guy at the next level? The Detroit Red Wings are going to give him a good long look to find that out." Sam Cosintino

With names like Jason Dickinson, Pius Suter, and Robby Fabbri,  the Storm weren't lacking for offensive players. but even on a strong Storm team, Bertuzzi established himself as a key player who was used in every situation, playing both top line wing, and both special teams. He closed out his OHL career with a personal best, now it's time for him to take the next step and prove he has what it takes to be an impact player in the AHL. I look forward to watching him grow both as a person and a player.