Flyers’ Trade Targets: Red Wings’ Forward Tyler Bertuzzi

NHL: FEB 17 Flyers at Red Wings
DETROIT, MI – FEBRUARY 17: Detroit Red Wings forward Tyler Bertuzzi (59) and Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Travis Sanheim (6) skate after the puck during a regular season NHL hockey game between the Philadelphia Flyers and the Detroit Red Wings on February 17, 2019. at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Scott Grau/Icon Sportswire)

In an effort to trade players with expensive contracts, Tyler Bertuzzi could be the perfect trade bait for the Philadelphia Flyers.

Following the period of contract extension negotiations, the Philadelphia Flyers will have an opportunity to make moves. After Elliotte Friedman noted the Flyers’ intent of exposing Jakub Voracek and the stoppage of trade discussions for Seth Jones, we’re able to reach clarity on other options Chuck Fletcher has to choose.

David Pagnotta appeared on NHL Now! to discuss league interest in Tyler Bertuzzi. Notably, he mentioned Philadelphia as an interested party. The Detroit Red Wings are not against moving him, but what does the trade market look like for Bertuzzi? Just because a player is on the trade block doesn’t mean it makes sense. What does a trade look like for Bertuzzi, who played nine games in 2020-2021 while battling injuries?

Bertuzzi underwent back surgery on April 30th, 2021. He is on pace to be ready for the 2021-2022 season. Already, the Flyers know how players can regress without a proper offseason. Bertuzzi comes with red flags, especially if he cannot participate in the offseason.

The Red Wings are looking for a player-for-player trade regarding Bertuzzi. Currently, Detroit has many players to extend at left-wing and on defense. Philadelphia can help address those team needs as a trade partner.

As the Red Wings acknowledge Bertuzzi as a trade piece, negotiations should favor the Flyers.

Trading a Defenseman For Bertuzzi

Considering the Philadelphia Flyers are searching for a top pair, right-handed defenseman, they would consider a left-handed one in a trade for Tyler Bertuzzi. Ivan Provorov and Travis Sanheim usually occupy the left side and will be protected, so it’s fair to count them out of any trade talks. Cam York is exempt, which is a win for the Flyers because he would be a no-brainer acquisition. That leaves two potential defensemen left to consider in a trade for Bertuzzi.

Chuck Fletcher is showing urgency in moving expensive contracts ahead of the flat cap era. Shayne Gostisbehere would be a favorable option for both parties. If Philadelphia can move him, that’s $4.5mil alleviated. He can play both sides of the ice on defense and quarterback a powerplay. Gostisbehere could be one of the most productive defensemen on the Detroit Red Wings.

If not Gostisbehere, Robert Hagg is an option. Hagg would come with a sweetener. With Hagg, the Red Wings would want a pick and a prospect (Yegor Zamula or Matthew Strome).

Gostisbehere would be the likely piece between the two due to his versatility and veteran leadership. Financially speaking, the Hagg proposal is more flat cap friendly.

The options don’t stop in the defensive zone.

Trading a Forward for Bertuzzi

The Detroit Red Wings enter 2021-2022 with the most cap space available (aside from the Seattle Kraken). If any team can take on an expensive contract, it’s them. Chuck Fletcher should take advantage of this opportunity to move James van Riemsdyk and his $7mil AAV price tag.

An elite powerplay scorer in 2020-2021, van Riemsdyk fits the Red Wings. His point production tied for the lead Philadelphia Flyers team scoring this season. Currently, Detroit doesn’t have any left wings extended through 2021-2022. Potentially adding van Riemsdyk puts him on the second line behind Jakub Vrana. Committing to this decision to add van Riemsdyk means Michael Rasmussen takes a step back.

If not van Riemsdyk, the Flyers could consider Oskar Lindblom as an offering. Similar to Nolan Patrick, Lindblom reintroduced himself to as full of a season as he could. Currently, Lindblom is receiving $3mil per season through 2022-2023. Injuries lower Bertuzzi’s stock, but they’ll save $500k at the least in accepting a trade proposal featuring Lindblom.

Taking on van Riemsdyk likely means Philadelphia sacrifices a pick due to the expensive contract. Similar to Patrick, Lindblom would require a pick or prospect because the unfair reality is that his value dropped due to health risks.

Fletcher would push to alleviate the money in a trade, favoring van Riemsdyk as the trade bait.

Trade Index

Tyler Bertuzzi as a trade target makes more sense than Sam Reinhart or Jesse Puljujarvi. Minus the conversations for a top pair, right-handed defenseman, or goaltender to back up Carter Hart, Bertuzzi could be a realistic option within the forward lineup.

The Detroit Red Wings likely find the highest upgrade in talent through James van Riemsdyk. He’s the proven commodity. The age discrepancy could turn off the Red Wings before the contract does. If it does, then Lindblom doesn’t look like a bad option. Youth is on his side, and he’s flat cap friendly.

Shayne Gostisbehere offers reputable talent, but Detroit is a dumpster fire defensively. They have to convince themselves that Gostisbehere would supplement the defense. He’ll contribute the most on special teams, but he fundamentally isn’t stubborn enough in the defensive zone. Accepting Gostisbhere would be a fleecing of Bertuzzi working in the Philadelphia Flyers’ favor.

Any player from the Flyers must understand that they’re going into a deeper rebuild with the Red Wings. Finding a trade partner thirsty for talent offers the best opportunity for Chuck Fletcher to alleviate more cap space in big chunks. He should be salivating over the chance to acquire Bertuzzi while climbing out of cap purgatory.

It’s not a priority move this offseason, but it could help.

Photo Credit: Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire