Why the Bruins and Red Wings traded Tyler Bertuzzi 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 announced Thursday. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Detroit will receive a 2024 first-round pick (top-10 protected) and a 2025 fourth-round pick in exchange for the Bertuzzi trade.
  • The Red Wings will keep 50% 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 first in the Atlantic Division.

Redemption deadline is Friday at 3 p.m. ET: Follow here for live updates.

Why the Bruins add Bertuzzi

It’s unclear if Bertuzzi was part of the Bruins’ initial plans. However, injuries to Taylor Hall and Nick Foligno may have prompted the Bruins to improvise. Hall won’t play Thursday due to a lower-body injury that sidelined the last two games. Foligno limped out of the Scotiabank Saddledome on Tuesday after being hit by Nikita Zadorov.

Southpaw Bertuzzi gives the Bruins insurance pending Hall and Foligno’s status. — Shinzawa

Up next for Boston: a salary cap change

The Bruins will need to complete a trade today to meet the cap. They should exceed the cap, even if Detroit retains 50% of Bertuzzi’s salary. They could place Hall (average annual value of $6 million) on long-term injured reserve. The severity of Hall’s lower body injury, however, 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 went from a scrappy second-round pick to a centerpiece for the Red Wings throughout their rebuild, scoring 30 goals last season. But he’s a pending unrestricted free agent and the Red Wings decided to get something for one of their best players. The 2024 first round (top 10 protected) could be more interesting than it first appears, coming from a Bruins team that has key players whose future is uncertain beyond this season.

As with the Islanders pick 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 the next step?

Suffice it to say, Detroit management has ended the team’s recent push into the playoffs. The question is, how far does this sale go? Last six forwards Oskar Sundqvist and Pius Suter are also pending UFAs who could help suitors. Jakub Vrana remains a possibility to be dealt with. There are certainly more balloons in the air for the Red Wings with 29 hours ahead of schedule.

And on the ice, eyes are now on the locker room reaction to seeing two rebuilt building blocks dispatched in 24 hours following two disheartening losses to Ottawa. Detroit struggled last year after another sell-by date undermined morale. — Bultman

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Screening report

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

Coming off the All-Star break, Bertuzzi finally scored his second goal of an injury-filled season — then his ice time increased dramatically, an indication the Red Wings might be trying to showcase him. The priority for Detroit has always been trying to sign Bertuzzi, a pending unrestricted free agent, to a contract extension. Failing that, you had to see what he could get for a hard-nosed winger who will charge towards the net and who last year produced 62 points in 68 games, the second best on the team.

Bertuzzi has seen limited action this year. He broke a hand on Oct. 15, then shortly after returning to the Red Wings roster after missing 13 games, he broke his other hand and only returned to action. the second week of January. Bertuzzi earns a reasonable $4.75 million in the final year of his contract. —Duhatschek

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(Photo: David Kirouac/USA Today)

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