The Detroit Red Wings need to be watched closely this week as we inch closer to the 2023 NHL Trade Deadline. Although they temporarily removed Tyler Bertuzzi from the trade market, NHL insider Darren Dreger reported last night (Feb. 28) that the Red Wings are listening to offers for him again. It ultimately makes sense when seeing the excellent returns that selling teams have received for their trade targets.
After a rough start to the 2022-23 season due to injury trouble, Bertuzzi has heated up since his return. Over his last 11 games, the 28-year-old winger has nine points, and that will grab the attention of contenders. With that, other previous forward targets like Timo Meier, Nino Niederreiter, Tanner Jeannot, and Ivan Barbashev all have new homes. Thus, Bertuzzi is now one of the top forwards left available. Here are three teams who could pursue him because of it.
The Edmonton Oilers stand out as a prime potential landing spot for Bertuzzi. Although they have a strong forward group led by Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Zach Hyman, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and Evander Kane, production drops off after them. As a result, they should view Bertuzzi as a trade target. The Oilers have also been criticized for being too easy to play against, so adding a gritty forward like Bertuzzi would help change that.
If the Oilers acquired Bertuzzi, he could work well on their first line with Connor McDavid and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. However, he is also a solid candidate for second-line minutes on a line with Leon Draisaitl and Zach Hyman. In either scenario, Bertuzzi would improve the Oilers’ top six during the final stretch of the season.
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Dreger noted in his report that the Red Wings want a first-round pick and more for Bertuzzi. As a result, the Oilers would need to trade their 2023 first-round pick, 2024 second-round pick, Warren Foegele, and a prospect like Carter Savoie to complete this swap. With that, Detroit would need to retain half of Bertuzzi’s salary.
The Winnipeg Jets were one of the teams linked to Meier before his trade to the New Jersey Devils. Thus, it would not be surprising to see them shift their focus to Bertuzzi. Even after acquiring Niederreiter from the Nashville Predators, the Jets still could use another forward before the playoffs.
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When looking at a possible spot for Bertuzzi in the Jets’ lineup, he would be an option on their first line with Nikolaj Ehlers and Pierre-Luc Dubois. Yet, I’d also argue that he would form an excellent trio with Kyle Connor and Mark Scheifele on the second line. The Jets simply need more scoring if they want to get by top teams like the Colorado Avalanche, Dallas Stars, and Vegas Golden Knights in the west, and Bertuzzi would give them that.
Besides their 2023 first-round pick, the Jets would also need to give up their 2025 second-round pick, Danny Zhilkin, and Simon Lundmark. This would be a fair price if the Red Wings also retain half of Bertuzzi’s salary.
The Carolina Hurricanes were also in the Meier sweepstakes before losing out to the Devils. Now, they seem likely to focus their attention on Bertuzzi. They should add another winger to their group before the deadline passes, as Max Pacioretty is out for the year. Thus, bringing in a top-six forward with immense grit like Bertuzzi would be a wise move.
Bertuzzi would be a welcomed addition to the Hurricanes’ first line if acquired. A trio of Bertuzzi, Sebastian Aho, and Andrei Svechnikov has the potential to be lethal when noting that it would possess a nice mixture of skill and physicality. With that, Bertuzzi would also work well on their power play and penalty kill due to his excellent all-around game.
With Pacioretty on long-term injured reserve (LTIR), the Hurricanes have plenty of money to work with. As a result, Bertuzzi would be easy for them to afford even without salary retention. Yet, to acquire him, the Hurricanes would need to trade their 2023 first-round pick, 2023 second-round pick, and a prospect like Jack Drury.
Now that several top forward trade targets have been moved, expect Bertuzzi to garner a plethora of interest before the 2023 Trade Deadline passes. We will need to wait and see if one of these three specific teams acquires him.