Originally written on Nightmare on Helm Street  |  Last updated 2/23/12

STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN - OCTOBER 02: Todd Bertuzzi of Detroit Red Wings looks during the 2009 Compuware NHL Premiere Stockholm match between Detroit Red Wings and St. Louis Blues at the Ericsson Globe on October 2, 2009 in Stockholm, Sweden. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)

As well reported around the world by now, Mr. Todd Bertuzzi will be returning to Detroit for the next two seasons and I couldn't be happier.   Per the Free Press:

Bertuzzi has made himself at home in the metro area since re-joining the Wings in the summer of 2009, and he will continue to do so for another two years. As the Free Press was the first to report Wednesday, Bertuzzi and the Wings have agreed to a two-year extension worth around $2.25 million a season.

"It was easy to do," Bertuzzi said. "I love being here, I love being part of the Wings. I'm really excited about our team this year. I feel we're very focused, especially on playing defense. We lacked that last year, and in training camp, everybody pretty much decided to up the ante."


Now it should be noted that this is a 35+ contract that will count against the cap if he retires, or gets hurt.  However, that risk is pretty low considering that it is only a two year deal and that he’s shown no signs of slowing down this season.   Yet even so, as always with Bertuzzi, not every Wings fan is impressed with this move. 

Hit the jump for the naysayers and my thoughts. 

Amerindian from Winging It In Motown had this to say:

I get that people are excited for this signing, but I'm not that big of a fan. I don't like a $2.2M per season deal for a guy who last year scored 2 goals in his final 21 games and scored 3 in his final 30 the year before. I also don't like a 2-year deal for a guy who has had a questionable injury past. There's also the uncertainty of the CBA and what the terms of that are going to be. Overall, I would have preferred to see the Wings see what Bert brings the rest of the season before deciding to award him with a multi-year deal, because I think there are younger guys ready to step up and take his place on the team.

I understand a few concerns, but here’s my response.   First off, 2.075 million is less than the average NHL salary, which in 2010 was on Detroit a high 2.4 million.  Bertuzzi, no matter how you put it, is better than an average NHL player.  

And sure he’s had some injury problems in the past, but that’s the distant past.  The past two seasons he’s played 82 and 81 games respectively.   This season he’s played 54 out of 61 games.  I think that’s sufficient to say he’s over those problems.  Injuries can happen to anyone and I don’t think I’d call ‘Tuzzi injury prone.

I can’t disagree that Bertuzzi’s been streaky, but when he’s on, he’s still one of the best in the league.  He seems to carry the Wings when the rest of the team is struggling.  I seem to remember one December two seasons ago when he had a ridiculous amount of points in a month when it seemed like he was the only one scoring. 

And finally, I don’t think the Wings have someone to take his spot as of yet.  Who’s going to be the big winger who can score?  Nyquist isn’t big, neither is Tatar.  Bertuzzi gives Detroit a big toothless presence

All in all, I think he’s been a great reclamation project for the Wings and really has fit in during this stint.   As he explained, he’s focused on a defense role now and he enjoys it:

"You know it's funny, but back then, I was in a totally different role," Bertuzzi said. "And to tell you the truth, I really enjoy playing this way. You try to prove yourself each and every time so they trust you when it matters."

His plus 21 rating sure shows his success.  And moreover, I think one of the most important elements that Bertuzzi has added to his game is his incredible shootout ability.  He’s honestly as good, if not better than Datsyuk this year and has singlehandedly got Detroit an extra 5-6 points with his efforts. 

So yeah, I love this move.  Great for both sides.  And for me, because I love having #44 in a Wings uni.

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