Some news of note out of Helene St. James this morning on Twitter:
Tyler Bertuzzi has been told to get a place. Sticking with Red Wings.— Helene St. James (@HeleneStJames) January 2, 2018
The significance of this move is that it’s an official filing pursuant to articles 13 and 14 of the NHL’s CBA. While he was on recall, the Red Wings were required to either put Bertuzzi up in a hotel room or pay him a per diem to stay somewhere similar for up to 28 days (which could be extended). Once he’s told to “get a place,” there’s a whole bunch more legal mumbo-jumbo in regards to what he gets reimbursed for, but the essential takeaway is the obvious one: Tyler Bertuzzi shouldn’t expect to go back go Grand Rapids anytime soon.
Helene has quotes from Jeff Blashill on Bertuzzi in her writeup on the story:
“He does lots of things that I think translate to this level and translate to hard hockey the deeper the year goes,” coach Jeff Blashill said Tuesday. “That’s why I think he’s been a real good playoff performer in GR. I don’t think he was necessarily going to be somebody that led the league in scoring in the American league, but it always seemed like the harder the hockey, the better he was.
The 22-year old second-round draft pick in 2013 (picked up with the extra pick received after Detroit moved down two spots in the first and grabbed Anthony Mantha) has been a good competitor for the Griffins and a playoff beast, winning the AHL’s playoff MVP award last season in the Griffin’s Calder Cup run. He’s just 12 games into his NHL career at this point, but after an unsure 7-game look last season, his most-recent callup has earned him his first three career assists and serious notice among fans of a kind of hockey sense that makes him deserving of a lineup spot.
The other benefit to Bertuzzi aside from being told to find a place is that it’s a confirmation that he’ll continue receiving his NHL salary, which is a little higher than the $67,500 he was earning at the AHL level in this, the last year of his entry-level contract. Bertuzzi will be a restricted free agent at the end of this year without arbitration rights, but should come in with a reasonable follow-on contract in the coming offseason. He’s a lot of fun to watch, but without any contract leverage and unless he solidifies himself as a top-tier game-changer, I don’t anticipate that re-signing him will be troublesome.
From the Wings’ roster perspective, Bertuzzi was already up filling a hole on the 23-man roster that had previously sat empty after the departure of Scott Wilson. The only Red Wings player on IR or LTIR right now is Johan Franzen. Neither Anthony Mantha (“nagging injury” day-to-day) or Luke Glendening (wrist 3-4 weeks) is on injured reserve, so their returns will cause harder lineup decisions, but not additional moves to force compliance with the 23-man roster limit. Barring other injuries, the choice doesn’t even really get interesting until Glendening’s return, because David Booth remains the eminently easy-to-scratch player and the Wings can always make room for another forward to play by going back to the 12/6 lineup rather than the 11/7 they’ve been running off-and-on this year.