DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings today agreed to terms with left wing Tyler Bertuzzi on a two-year contract and right wing Martin Frk on a one-year contract.
Bertuzzi, 23, split the 2017-18 season between the Red Wings and the American Hockey League’s Grand Rapids Griffins. After missing training camp due to injury, Bertuzzi started the season in the AHL and racked up 14 points (7-7-14) and 34 penalty minutes in 16 games, before he was recalled by Detroit in December, remaining in the NHL for the duration of the season. In 48 games with the Red Wings, Bertuzzi picked up 24 points (7-17-24) and 39 penalty minutes, including his first NHL point on Dec. 27 at New Jersey and his first goal on Jan. 14 at Chicago. Bertuzzi, who scored five goals in his final nine games of the season, also picked up seven multi-point games and set a season high with three points (0-3-3) on March 12 at San Jose. The third-year pro tied for fourth among team regulars in points-per-game (0.50) behind only Dylan Larkin (0.77), Henrik Zetterberg (0.68) and Anthony Mantha (0.60). The 6-foot, 190-pound winger made his NHL debut in 2016-17, appearing in seven games for the Red Wings.
Originally drafted by the Red Wings in the second round (58th overall) in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, Bertuzzi spent parts of four seasons (2014-18) with the Griffins and totaled 82 points (32-50-82), a plus-15 rating and 204 penalty minutes in 137 regular-season games and 39 points (23-16-39), a plus-12 rating and 68 penalty minutes in 42 postseason games. Bertuzzi helped the Griffins win the 2017 Calder Cup championship, and he won the Jack A. Butterfield Trophy as the most-valuable player of the AHL Playoffs after posting 19 points (9-10-19) in 19 postseason games. The Sudbury, Ontario, native skated four seasons (2011-15) for the Ontario Hockey League’s Guelph Storm prior to turning professional, earning 172 points (72-100-172), a plus-35 rating and 325 penalty minutes in 201 games. Bertuzzi won an OHL championship with the Storm and was a 2015 OHL Second-Team All-Star after scoring 98 points (43-55-98) in 68 games in his final season of major junior hockey.
Frk completed his first full NHL season in 2017-18, registering 25 points (11-14-25) and 14 penalty minutes in 68 games. He made his Red Wings debut in the team’s season opener on Oct. 5 vs. Minnesota – his 24th birthday – assisting on the first goal ever scored at Little Caesars Arena (Mantha) and later scoring his first NHL goal. Frk ranked among NHL rookie leaders with 25 points (tied for 23rd) and five power-play goals (tied for fifth) and also placed among Red Wings leaders with 10 goals (T9th), five power-play goals (3rd), an 11.1 shooting percentage (7th) and 77 hits (8th). Frk originally made his NHL debut during the 2016-17 campaign with Carolina, after the Hurricanes claimed him off waivers from Detroit on Oct. 9, 2016 before he was reclaimed by the Red Wings on Nov. 1, 2016.
A native of Pelhrimov, Czech Republic, Frk was also a member of the 2017 Calder Cup-champion Griffins and scored the game-winning goal during the third period of a Game 6 win over the Syracuse Crunch to clinch the championship. He also posted an AHL career-best 50 points (27-23-50) in 65 regular-season games with the team in 2016-17 and totaled 118 points (63-55-118) and 185 penalty minutes in 214 games over his four seasons with the team (2013-17). Frk was originally drafted by Detroit in the second round (49th overall) of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft and played for the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s Halifax Mooseheads from 2010-13 prior to turning pro. He racked up 163 points (73-90-163) and 200 penalty minutes in 152 games with the Mooseheads, capping off his QMJHL career with QMJHL and CHL Memorial Cup championships in 2012-13.
Somewhat surprising news on the Martin Frk front, as the last report we got on him was that the Red Wings were not extending him a qualifying offer which would have made him an unrestricted free agent, but that’s also a case of being a matter-of-course which allows the team to offer a deal without the required raise due on a qualifying offer to a restricted free agent which maintains his rights.
Both Bertuzzi’s deal and Frk’s deal will expire with the player as a restricted free agent with arbitration rights.
#RedWings have signed restricted free agents Tyler Bertuzzi (two years at cap hit of $1.4 million) and Martin Frk (one year at $1.05 million).— Ansar Khan (@AnsarKhanMLive) June 25, 2018
Update (with salary info): This should be a very good bargain for Tyler Bertuzzi, who showed a great level of comfort playing in the top six while also fitting in just fine as a bottom-six guy as well. The Frk raise above the 110% of the previous year’s salary required of a qualifying offer is somewhat curious but not terribly surprising. It’s also entirely buryable in the AHL if he can’t win a spot out of camp and clears waivers. It’s possible it’s a strategy play to have prevented Frk from being able to file for arbitration this offseason. This would mean the team was worried about him being awarded more than $1.05M and/or the optics of exercising the team walk-away rights provided he was awarded more than they wanted to pay in arbitration.