Bruins Focus Should Be Re-Signing This Forward, But They Might Have To Get Ship Out A Couple Forwards

Published May 26, 2023 at 9:46 PM

Tyler Bertuzzi quickly became a perfect fit for the Boston Bruins when he joined them. He arrived on the day before the 2023 NHL Trade Deadline which marked Don Sweeney's most decisive move of the season, and Bertuzzi seamlessly integrated himself into the team, endearing himself to the fans with his gritty style of play, aptly described as a "little greaseball" by Brad Marchand.

There are multiple reasons why Bertuzzi should remain a Bruin for the long term, and we'll delve into those details in this story. However, is it feasible? And if so, what would it entail? What sacrifices need to be made?

Fortunately, acquiring Bertuzzi as a complementary top-nine winger shouldn't break the bank for the Bruins. However, wherever he signs, he is due for a well-deserved raise after playing the past two seasons on a relative bargain contract of $4.75 million.

Since joining Boston from Detroit, Bertuzzi has been among the league's most productive wingers. Among 40 left wings with at least 250 minutes on the ice at 5-on-5, Bertuzzi ranked:

7th in expected goals (16.2)
9th in goal percentage (60.7)
9th in high-danger chances (70)
11th in CorsiFor percentage (55.7)

At just 28 years old, Bertuzzi is entering the prime of his career and is poised to secure a maximum seven-year deal on the open market. The Bruins hold an advantage by being able to offer an eighth year.

The question then becomes the average annual value (AAV) of his contract. A comparable player is Jake Guentzel of the Pittsburgh Penguins, who shares the same age and has played both wing positions. Guentzel has carried a $6 million cap hit over the past four seasons and enters the final year of his contract in 2023-24.

Guentzel has undeniably been more productive than Bertuzzi, averaging 39.4 goals per 82 games over the past five seasons. However, Guentzel has benefited from playing alongside Sidney Crosby for a significant portion of that time. Bertuzzi has formed a strong partnership with David Pastrnak on the Bruins, indicating that his best scoring seasons may still lie ahead if he remains in Boston.

Considering these factors, an AAV of at least $6 million seems reasonable for Bertuzzi's next contract. It's possible he could approach the $6.5 million mark, matching Brendan Gallagher of the Canadiens, but surpassing $7 million (the salary range of Anders Lee from the Islanders) appears unlikely. Exceeding that threshold would place Bertuzzi in a higher tier of contracts that he may not be able to justify based on his performance compared to players like Jason Robertson, Kyle Connor, or Clayton Keller.

Regardless of where the final AAV lands, it is manageable for the Bruins. However, it will inevitably require legitimate sacrifices due to their salary cap constraints.

The most significant impact of re-signing Bertuzzi would be felt among the forward lines. Heading into the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Bruins boasted their deepest and most talented forward group in years. Unfortunately, keeping all the key pieces together financially won't be feasible for the 2023-24 season.

If Sweeney decides to shed a higher-priced forward, the most likely candidates would be Charlie Coyle ($5.25 million for the next three seasons) or Taylor Hall ($6 million over the next two seasons). Considering that the Bruins consider Bertuzzi's linemates, Pastrnak and Pavel Zacha, as core pieces for the future, Coyle or Hall would be more viable trade assets, and moving their contracts should be manageable.

Source: 985thesportshub
May 26   |   60 answers
Bruins Focus Should Be Re-Signing This Forward, But They Might Have To Get Ship Out A Couple Forwards

Will the Bruins be able to sign Bertuzzi?

Yes2948.3 %
No610 %
Probably not46.7 %
Sweeney will have to work a lot of magic2135 %
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