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Bertuzzi’s ‘fearless approach’ a bonus

Published Monday, July 1, 2013, 5:14 p.m. under 2013 Draft Coverage
Tyler Bertuzzi

Tyler Bertuzzi (Credit: OHL Images)

Think of Tyler Bertuzzi as the Detroit Red Wings’ bonus prospect.

Taken much higher than he was rated in most pre-draft rankings, Detroit selected the 6-foot, 178-pounder in the second round, 58th overall, with the bonus pick acquired in a trade with the San Jose Sharks that saw the Red Wings shift down two spots in the first round from No. 18 to No. 20.

Bertuzzi, the nephew of current Red Wings winger Todd, is a niche player who plays a hard physical game and agitates the opposition.

The Red Wings paid little attention to his low rankings — 207th among North Americans by Central Scouting — and took him because he knows his role and plays it well.

“He brings that element, and we felt like we wanted to add a player like that into our mix of prospects,” said Red Wings scout Jeff Finley. “A lot of times what happens is you like those guys, but they go a lot earlier than you were planning to take them. We just thought, instead of taking a chance that he’s not there in the third round, we had an extra pick in the second, and we didn’t mind him there where we took him.”

Bertuzzi just completed his second OHL season with the Guelph Storm, recording 13 goals and nine assists for 22 points along with 68 penalty minutes in 43 games. Although he fought 15 times as an OHL rookie, he cut back to just three fighting majors last season.

According to TSN analyst Bob McKenzie, Bertuzzi makes Chicago Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw “look like a Lady Byng winner.” And that’s a compliment.

The Red Wings also compare him to Shaw, another OHL product who just helped the Blackhawks win their second Stanley Cup in four years.

“He’s got something you can’t teach in terms of his fearless approach to the game and he plays bigger than he is,” said Ryan Martin, the Red Wings assistant general manager of hockey administration. “He’s an energy guy who is willing to fight and plays that abrasive style.”

Martin said Bertuzzi has grown an inch and a half recently and believes he’ll give Guelph even more of an energy boost as he gets stronger develops his skill-set.

Bertuzzi, who will spend two more seasons in the OHL, is also similar to Red Wings 2009 sixth-rounder Mitchell Callahan, although Finley said Bertuzzi has an edge at the same age because he’s bigger and a better skater.

Callahan, of course, played a pivotal role in the Grand Rapids Griffins’ Calder Cup triumph this season with his grinding game and timely goal-scoring.

“Bertuzzi is that type of player where he’s in your face and plays hard every shift,” Finley said. “He’s an agitator but he’ll back it up. He handles himself very well but just brings it hard every time.”


  1. ScottD says:

    I wounder what will happen if this kid ends up playing against Shaw when he makes it to the NHL. I think the team needs guys like this. I’m not sure that I agree with spending a second rounder on him but only time will tell.

  2. Hockeytown wAx says:

    I think the Red Wings “spent” a 2nd round pick on Todd’s nephew not only for the reasons above, but because he’s Todd’s nephew. Ever since the Ilitches bought the team it’s always been about family. Now, Todd has a chance to skate with his nephew during training camp this fall. What a great way for a classy organ-i-zation to show how much they respect and appreciate a true professional like Todd Bertuzzi.

  3. Patrick Johnson says:

    I still wish they would have spent this pick better… so many better choices…

  4. NHLrick says:

    @hockeytown wAX

    Spending a second round pick so Todd and Tyler can skate together is a gross misuse of a second round draft choice. The problem isn’t that they selected Tyler, the problem is they spent the 58th pick to get him. Hopefully you’re wrong and there’s more to this selection than getting Tyler and Todd to share some family memories. They can do that every single day in the offseason regardless of who drafted him. Don’t get me wrong though. I’m not labeling him a bust, I just wish they went elsewhere with the “bonus pick”.

  5. Patrick Johnson says:

    I am very much in agreement Rick…

  6. sammy says:

    I don’t understand why there is so much hate for this pick. The Red Wings wanted this guy bad. So much so that they weren’t willing to risk missing him in the 3rd round. Not every draft pick has to have the potential to be a dynamic offensive talent or shutdown defenseman. We have a plethora of offensive talent and defensive talent in the pipeline. It’s good to add some different pieces, we need guys like this and it sounds like Tyler is very good at what he does. I don’t think the Wings are going to make a habit of drafting gritty, checking line players with 2nd round picks. They did it once for a guy they really like. He just so happens to be Bertuzzi’s nephew. I don’t see why it’s a big deal. If you think the Wings would draft him just to make Todd happy you are insane.

  7. NHLrick says:

    @Sammy. My problem isn’t with Tyler Bertuzzi as a prospect. My problem is that players with his skill set are much more available than the offensive upside guys you can get with the 58th overall pick. Hell, you can sign gritty penalty killers for dirt cheap every offseason. I’m glad he’s in our system and I hope he does well. But he was taken at least a round too high. If someone else grabbed him in rounds 2-4? Oh well, get another gritty niche player if you want one. Chances are there would be dozens available. What’s done is done. I’ll be rooting for him all the same.

  8. John P says:

    Boy they are working really hard in this article to justify a second round pick. They were worried he wouldn’t be there in the third, why? Picking him in the fifth round would have been taking him early. I believe Shaw was undrafted. To downplay Callahan in an effort to create an urgent need for an agitator is in poor taste. Callahan has taken some of the edge of his game at the Wings request. Callahan has improved steadily and really showed up during the Calder Cup Playoffs and I hope he gets a fair shot with the Wings, but I don’t see that happening. Maybe Nill will pick up some of these prospects the Wings seem to downplay.

  9. Zombietroy says:

    Honestly, I think this tells you that Bertuzzi will join Chelios, Osgood, Maltby and Draperand stay with the Wings after his retirement as a player. Quick Launch

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