Why the Bruins and Red Wings made the Tyler Bertuzzi trade and what’s next

By Pierre LeBrun, Fluto Shinzawa, Max Bultman and Eric Duhatschek

The Detroit Red Wings have traded forward Tyler Bertuzzi to the Boston Bruins, the teams said Thursday. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Detroit will receive a 2024 first-round draft pick (top-10 protected) and a 2025 fourth-round pick in exchange for the Bertuzzi trade.
  • The Red Wings will retain 50 percent of Bertuzzi’s salary.
  • Bertuzzi, 28, has 14 points (four goals, 10 assists) in 29 games this season.
  • The Bruins are 47-8-5 this season and sit in first place in the Atlantic Division.

The trade deadline is Friday at 3:00 PM ET: Stay tuned here for live updates.

Why Bruins Add Bertuzzi

Whether Bertuzzi was part of the Bruins’ initial plans is unknown. However, it could be that injuries to Taylor Hall and Nick Foligno forced the Bruins to improvise. Hall will not play Thursday because of a lower-body injury that kept him out the last two games. Foligno limped out of the Scotiabank Saddledome on Tuesday after being hit by Nikita Zadorov.

Lefty Bertuzzi gives the Bruins insurance pending the status of Hall and Foligno. — Shinzawa

Next for Boston: A salary cap move

The Bruins must complete a transaction today to achieve cap compliance. They are projected to be over the cap, even with Detroit retaining 50 percent of Bertuzzi’s salary. They could place Hall ($6 million average annual value) on long-term injured reserve. However, the severity of Hall’s lower body injury is unknown.

The Bruins could also find a taker for Mike Reilly ($3 million AAV), who is currently buried in the AHL. — Shinzawa

Why the Red Wings made the trade

Bertuzzi grew from a scrappy second-round pick into a core piece for the Red Wings throughout the rebuild, scoring 30 goals last season. But he’s a pending unrestricted free agent, and the Red Wings now moved to make sure they got something for one of their best players. The 2024 first-rounder (top-10 protected) could be more interesting than it appears at first blush, coming from a Bruins team that has some key players whose futures are uncertain beyond this season.

As with the Islanders picks acquired via Vancouver, it remains to be seen whether the Red Wings keep the pick or move it, but by making this deal they ensure they don’t lose Bertuzzi for nothing and get a decent return in the process. — Bultman

The Red Wings are now sellers. So what’s next?

Suffice it to say, Detroit management has pulled the plug on the team’s recent playoff run. The question is how far will this sale go? Final six forwards Oskar Sundqvist and Pius Suter are also pending UFAs that could help contenders. Jakub Vrana is still a possibility to be dealt. There are guaranteed to be more balls in the air for the Red Wings with 29 hours before the deadline.

And on the ice, eyes turn to how the locker room will react to seeing two rebuilt building blocks sent out in the space of 24 hours after a pair of disappointing losses in Ottawa. Last year, Detroit struggled after another sales deadline dampened morale. — Bultman

go deeper


What does the Red Wings’ disaster in Ottawa mean for their playoff hopes, trade deadline?

Scouting report

Bertuzzi has played his entire seven-year career with the Red Wings after they selected him in the second round of the 2013 NHL Draft.

Coming out of the All-Star break, Bertuzzi finally scored his second goal of an injury-riddled season — and then his ice time increased dramatically, an indication that the Red Wings could try to showcase him. The priority for Detroit was always to try to get Bertuzzi, a pending unrestricted free agent, signed to a contract extension. Failing that, it had to see what it could do for a hard-nosed winger who will drive to the net and last year produced 62 points in 68 games, second best on the team.

Bertuzzi has seen limited action this year. He broke one hand on October 15, and shortly after returning to the Red Wings lineup after missing 13 games, he broke his other hand and barely returned to action in the second week of January. Bertuzzi is making a reasonable $4.75 million in the final year of the deal. — Duhatschek

Compulsory reading

(Photo: David Kirouac / USA Today)

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