Despite being in the hunt for a playoff spot, the Detroit Red Wings have traded pending unrestricted free agent Tyler Bertuzzi to the league-leading Boston Bruins.
In return, the Red Wings get Boston’s first-round pick in 2024, which is top-10 protected, and a fourth-round pick in 2025. Detroit will retain 50 per cent of Bertuzzi’s salary.
The Sudbury, Ont., native was Detroit’s second-round pick (58th overall) in the 2013 NHL Draft.
The move allows the Red Wings to recoup some assets for a winger not expected to be back next season.
Bertuzzi, 28, will bring a scoring touch with a physical edge to his new team. However, he also carries injury risk as he’s missed extended time twice this season with hand and leg injuries.
It marks the second big trade leading up to Friday’s deadline for the Bruins, who acquired Dmitry Orlov and Garnet Hathaway from the Washington Capitals last week.
The Bruins are, however, dealing with some injury trouble. After making the trade for Bertuzzi, they placed forward Taylor Hall on long-term injured reserve and forward Nick Foligno on injured reserve. General manager Don Sweeney did not rule out the possibility of either player having surgery when speaking to reporters Thursday.
The Bruins (47-8-5) have 99 points in 60 games, 13 more points than the second-best team, the Carolina Hurricanes.
In 29 games this season, Bertuzzi has four goals and 14 points. Last season, he set career highs with 30 goals and 62 points.
The Red Wings were comfortable making this move after a number of younger players — including Michael Rasmussen, Jonatan Berggren and Joe Veleno — seized larger roles this season. General manager Steve Yzerman is banking on the fact he has more forward depth than at any other time during his tenure managing hockey operations for the club in making this move.
The Red Wings are trying to make the playoffs for the first time since 2015-16 — the final season of their historic 25-year long playoff streak.
Detroit is five points out of the playoffs, but lost ground this week after being swept by the Ottawa Senators in a home-and-home series. The Senators also are in the wild-card race.