Some of the goals that “walked out the door” on Saturday might have been recouped by Maple Leafs general manager Brad Treliving.
After signing forward Ryan Reaves and defenceman John Klingberg in National Hockey League free agency Canada Day, Treliving followed those additions up with a bigger splash on Sunday.
The Leafs signed winger Tyler Bertuzzi to a one-year contract that will pay the 28-year-old winger $5.5-million US for the 2023-24 season.
The desire in Toronto is that Bertuzzi re-discovers the touch that helped him score 30 goals in 68 games with the Detroit Red Wings in 2021-22. Last season, in 50 games with the Wings and Boston Bruins, Bertuzzi scored just eight goals. He did make a mark in the playoffs, scoring five goals and adding five assists in seven games in the first round as the Bruins were upset by the Florida Panthers.
Prior to ’21-’22, Bertuzzi’s previous high in the NHL was 21 goals, done twice with Detroit.
Originally a second-round pick by the Wings in 2013, Bertuzzi should add a bit of scrappy flavour to a Leafs forward group that requires it.
On Saturday, Treliving noted the Leafs need to get more scoring after Michael Bunting (Carolina), Ryan O’Reilly (Nashville) and Alex Kerfoot (Arizona) all departed in free agency.
The Bertuzzi contract has the Leafs approximately $5-million over the $83.5-million salary cap, per capfriendly.com.
Treliving will get another $5.6-million, as defenceman Jake Muzzin is expected to be put on longterm injured reserve.
Remaining on Treliving’s to-do list is a new contract for goalie Ilya Samsonov, extensions for Auston Matthews and William Nylander and more upgrading on the Leafs blue line.
In 326 career NHL games with Detroit and Boston, Bertuzzi has 218 points (92 goals and 126 assists) and 195 penalty minutes.