According to The Fourth Period, the LA Kings may be interested in acquiring Red Wings forward Tyler Bertuzzi, who missed most of the 2021 season with a back injury.
We are reaching the fun part of the offseason. In addition to the Seattle expansion and NHL drafts, the free agency period opens on July 28. The LA Kings have already added a top-six forward in Viktor Arvidsson, but general manager Rob Blake made it clear that the organization would be looking to add two top-six forwards to the mix. The Kings will be linked to every sub-30-year-old forward who could be on the move, and rightfully so. And per Dave Pagnotta of The Fourth Period, Red Wings forward Tyler Bertuzzi could be of interest to the Kings’ front office.
“Now they’re not just set on just having Viktor Arvidsson added to the mix,” Pagnotta noted. “They want to bring in another top-six winger to add to their core of what they have in place in Los Angeles as well as help on the back end. They’d love to be able to bring in somebody on that D corps that can play on the left side, is a veteran, young presence but could perhaps gel with Drew Doughty. Los Angeles isn’t done. I don’t necessarily know if they’ll going to get both of these acquisitions made this offseason, but they’ve made it known that they want to address these two areas of the club…It wouldn’t shock me, based on some of the names that are out there, if a player like Tyler Bertuzzi becomes available for LA. He’s a player Detroit’s listening on. LA has some very good young pieces that they’re willing to move to bring in young-calibre star talent in return.”
Bertuzzi, 26, is a former second-round pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft and put together back-to-back 45+ point seasons in 2018-19 and 2019-20. He was limited to just nine games last season after undergoing back surgery in April. The Kings are no stranger to a forward with back injuries, as Gabe Vilardi was plagued with them early on in his career. However, it appears that Bertuzzi is on track to be ready for the 2021-22 season without any lingering issues.
The Sudbury, Ontario native put up a lot of points on some really bad Red Wings clubs while shooting the puck at matching 16 percent clips over those two seasons. The restricted free agent is projected to fetch a one-year deal worth $3.1M, which would be less than the $3.5M cap hit he had last season on LTIR. When healthy, Bertuzzi has primarily played LW1 for the Red Wings, grabbing a firm hold on the position since the middle of the 2018-19 season.
A quick follow-up with Dave summarizes it perfectly. “He fits the description of exactly what type of player LA wants to add…mid-20s, talented, controllable, physical with scoring touch,” Pagnotta told me.
The move could really give Anze Kopitar all the weapons he needs on the top line, with Arvidsson projected to play at the RW1.
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