TRAVERSE CITY, MICHIGAN– Bloodlines run deep within the Detroit Red Wings organization. As development camp concluded on Monday morning at Centre Ice Arena, the Detroit management and development staff had a chance to size up a few notable sons of NHL families. Amongst Michael Babcock and Dean Chelios sits Tyler Bertuzzi.
Taken in the second round as the 58th overall pick from the Guelph Storm (OHL), Bertuzzi was a standout at the Red Wings Development Camp in more ways than one.
Bertuzzi, an 18 year old who stands 6 feet tall and weighs in at 176 lbs, plays much bigger than his size. In the Red Wings annual prospect scrimmage, he was not afraid to go out and throw some hits and play his style of hockey. Despite taking a big hit from fellow prospect Martin Frk, there is much to be said for Bertuzzi’s tenacity to come out and play “his game” at his first Detroit Red Wings Prospect Camp.
When asked about this abrasive style, Bertuzzi said that he embraced it. Bertuzzi remarks, “That’s my game, grinding it out, hitting, playing tough. It’s working out for me. Now I just need to work on my skill side”
Is Bertuzzi all grit and no skill?
Absolutely not. Bertuzzi showed great skating potential and a good sense for keeping the puck on his stick during his on-ice workouts, and demonstrated more finesse around the net during drills than he is given credit for in many prospect reports.
WATCH: He’s also got a fighting side.
Bertuzzi is quite speedy as well, and has noted that his skating is an area he would like to work on more going forward. In talking about his skating, he said, “Those first three strides are the most powerful, and I want to get that power into my legs and get in some good cardio getting ready for camp.”
Red Wings fans should be excited about the development of Tyler Bertuzzi. If he continues to work hard on his skating speed and focusing his energy into big, clean, responsible hits, Bertuzzi has the potential to play in a checking role and likely see time on the penalty kill. A comparison to a bigger hitting Drew Miller would not be unreasonable.
Oh, and about rivalry with that uncle, Todd?
“I’m meaner.” Bertuzzi quipped to Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press. Despite getting a call from Uncle Todd on draft day, fans can expect a bit of friendly competition come camp time. After all, a little bit of mean never hurt a hockey team, especially one that wears the Winged Wheel. That meanness is something that is needed badly in the Detroit system, and Bertuzzi will add grit to a Red Wings roster in the next few years.