The Ducks know they have to clear cap room with Niedermayer back and need the cash to sign free-agent Corey Perry so they have decided to cut their ties to Todd Bertuzzi.
Bertuzzi is set to make US$4 million next season. Big Burt is 33 years old and signed a contract for two years last year. He notched 40 points in 68 games this past season along with 97 PIMS.
This past summer I had the privilege of meeting Brian Burke while I was working at a hockey camp in British Columbia. A 16-year-old kid asked Burke, “Mr. Burke do you really think Todd Bertuzzi is worth all that money you just signed him for?” which in my opinion was pretty ballsy of the 16 year old.
Burke replied with something along the lines of, “No I don’t think so at all, I think he is washed up and will have a terrible season, I just signed him because he is a good friend of mine. Of course I think he is. What are you thinking? Todd is a friend of mine but this is business and I know Todd is still competitive and will have a great season for us.” – Natural Brian Burke with his dry sense of humor, giving it to a 16-year-old.
Priceless really. Well I guess that is what he thought of Big Burt, anyway.
This article has been submitted by Chris Pope.
A quick thought from Blake Murphy:
I find it a pretty sad and strange state of affairs, what has happened to Todd Bertuzzi. We know all too well about the Steve Moore incident from a few years back, but I don’t think anyone could have predicted the profound impact that would have on Bert on the ice. Obviously, off the ice, it was bound to make an impact, but on it? Really?
One aspect could be the fact that he’s now a relatively disliked player in the league. While he was always a pest, now it seems very few people could care less, and he’s often forgotten in almost any hockey discussion. I hardly remembered he was even on the Ducks.
It could also be that the mental wear-and-tear broke him down physically, which, I guess, is understandable. Constant mental anguish and a lack of focus could conceivably take you off your game.
But still, Bertuzzi is a former first round pick, a 2006 Olympian, and is still only 33 years old. We can’t be ready to write him off yet, right? While he was never a top-flight scorer, he had seasons of 50, 55, 85, 97, 60, and 71 points when he got to play full seasons with the Canucks from 1999 to 2006. In 2006-07, he was riddled with injuries but managed an impressive 11 points in 14 games. Last season, he mustered just 40 points, the lowest full-season output since his first two seasons in the league.
Bertuzzi is still a physical presence, and, I’m sure, still a guy who can find a way to put up points. He’s obviously overpaid at $4M, and the negative publicity that follows him poses a risk to GMs and franchises looking at him, but at this point I have to think he still catches on somewhere.
This is an Olympian, a solid 60-point scorer, a rough-and-tumble grit player that coaches should love, and a big body with loads of experience. If he can be had on the cheap after this (which is likely, since reports are that he was bought out, not just waived), you have to like how he fits as a 3rd-line forward on a contending team. At least, I do.