You hear that? That’s the sound of jimmies being rustled. There aren’t a lot of neutral feelings when it comes to the name Bertuzzi. To say something short the long way, a lot of other fanbases wouldn’t use the carbon dioxide Tyler Bertuzzi exhales to save the last tree on earth.
And good Gord do we love him for it.
Born: February 24, 1995 (24 years old)
Birthplace: Sudbury, ON, CAN
Height/Weight: 6’0” / 190 lbs
Drafted: 2013, Round 2, #158 Overall, Detroit Red Wings
Red Wings: 73GP, 21G-26A, 36PIM
There’s been a lot said over the past few years about Larkin, AA and Mantha as the core of the future but Bert’s performance last year slotted him right there with them.
Bert took a huge leap forward in his first full time stint with the big club. He was solid in the 48 games he played with the Wings in 2017-2018, but last year he seemed to have a better reign on his temper and refined himself into a damn fine playmaker.
He was 5th in points for the team last year (4th in goals and 3rd in assists) and had some insanely great chemistry with Goose (RIP in piece u tradur) and Larkin in particular, but he’s proved that he can slot in with anyone and make things happen.
One of Bert’s real strengths is that he makes his linemates better. He has a way of energizing the players around him. And not just the players, he has smiled his way to being a real fan favorite.
If you care about +/- which you don’t and nobody should, he was +11. Next best? LGD at +2. Remember folks, stats are only stupid when they tell you something you don’t want to hear.
His only weakness is HE CARES TOO MUCH.
Kidding...sort of. Bert basically needs to keep on his current path of showing a responsible level of intensity. By that I mean, be the most annoying player opponents have ever seen without doing something stupid like punching a guy from the bench or what have you.
When his control slips, that’s where we get into trouble. However, he showed rapid growth last year in both the physical and mental aspects of the game. We love that Junkyard Dog energy, so it’s a balancing act to keep up his unique style without ever exploding into a confetti shower of stupid.
He’s not going to be the fastest, the strongest, the whatever-est but he’s got a well-rounded skill set and the intangibles down pat. As long as he continues to be a sparkplug, he’ll be absolutely irreplaceable.
And the hair, we mustn’t forget the hair.
This is a contract year for Bert and, should he play at least as well as he did last year, there’s no reason not to pay the man. As you’ve seen from the Top 25 series, there are a lot of forwards waiting in the wings to play wing on the Wings, but it’s Bert’s contract to lose at this point.
Let’s Go Red Wings!