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Monday, October 2, 2023

Tyler Bertuzzi may very well be lacking ingredient to energy Leafs prime line Categorical Occasions

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Take two all-star forwards, combine with an enormous scoring left winger, add ice and stir.

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That’s the recipe the Maple Leafs can have on the menu at some stage of the approaching season, with free agent Tyler Bertuzzi working a line with Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner.

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“That’s as much as coach (Sheldon Keefe),” Bertuzzi stated Monday in his first face-to-face scrum with Toronto media on the group’s charity golf occasion at Rattlesnake Level in Milton. “Time will inform.”

Bertuzzi created free agent buzz with a superb playoff in his temporary time in Boston (although the group itself was a stunning first spherical casualty), with 10 factors in seven video games.

“That was my first style of playoff hockey, one more reason (he needed to stick with a contender). To get a really feel for that, I need to be again in it yearly.

“I need to carry my sport; power, being in entrance of the online, hounding pucks.”

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Swapping Bertuzzi for the departed Michael Bunting, who was prime time on left wing with Matthews and Marner a lot of the previous two seasons, may very well be a fixture from Day One in all camp this week or a fall again after different experiments. Finally it will likely be too enticing for Keefe to move up.

As a lot because the Leafs liked Bunting’s zeal and chirp issue that riled opponents, he was not producing with the opposite two as usually final season, particularly when taken off the unit for Calle Jarnkrok as half of a bigger prime six shake-up.

Tight for cash this previous summer time, the Leafs didn’t attempt very onerous to re-sign Bunting, particularly with Brad Treliving coming in as common supervisor. The brand new workers have been enamoured with signing Bertuzzi, centre/winger Max Domi and the chance draft decide Matthew Knies make the group after a powerful playoff. Knies may very well be another choice at left winger with fellow Arizonan Matthews.

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Whereas Bunting ended up in Carolina, projected as its second-line winger, Bertuzzi signed right here for one yr at $5.5 million US, after nearly all of his 328 NHL video games have been spent in non-playoff seasons with the Detroit Pink Wings.

“I got here in two or three weeks in the past to fulfill all the blokes, skate and work out, get to know everybody,” Bertuzzi stated. “I’ve been skating with Auston and Mitch, understanding with them (and different Leafs on the observe facility).”

He, Domi and new defenceman John Klingberg all had robust playoffs in 2023, a mixed 27 factors in 30 video games. The Leafs lastly bought previous the primary spherical, however Matthews and Marner wanted assist because the Panthers shut them down within the convention semi-final.

Bertuzzi is an inch taller and a bit heavier than Bunting, more durable to play in opposition to and never as vulnerable to diving because the latter was in successfully drawing penaltes. The nephew of former NHLer Todd Bertuzzi can be extra of the silent kind, a problem on this market.

“Plenty of one-word solutions,” Bertuzzi forewarned with a smile. “We’ll see. It’s going to be enjoyable, one thing totally different and I’m certain I’ll get used to it.”


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