Insider reporting that the Leafs wanted to sign UFA to long-term deal; still a possibility

Ryan Smitheram
August 30, 2023  (6:29 PM)

Early in free agency the Leafs signed Tyler Bertuzzi to a 1-year, $5.5M deal. The signing was met with joy from Leaf fans everywhere as Bertuzzi brings an element to the Leafs' top-six that they have been missing for some time. Initially, Bertuzzi was seeking a long-term deal but settled on a 1-year deal when he was reportedly not garnering much long-term interest. According to Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman however, the Leafs were one of the teams that were interested in going long-term.

"I am of the belief that Toronto wanted to sign Tyler Bertuzzi longer and I think Bertuzzi wanted to sign longer but they didn't have the ability to do it now. What does that mean after Jan 1st?" Friedman queried on Sportsnet FAN590 this afternoon.
The Leafs wanted to retain some cap flexibility beyond the next two seasons with their "Core 4" before committing long-term to anyone else. Now that they have Auston Matthews locked up, they have a bit of clarity and likely have a ballpark number of what William Nylander is asking and will get an idea of what Mitch Marner is looking for next summer.
Bertuzzi is eligible to sign an extension once the calendar turns to January 1st, 2024 and it sounds like there could have already been discussions about a potential extension. Of course, the extension will depend on how things play out for the Leafs and Bertuzzi before then.
The 28-year-old Bertuzzi is coming off off of an injury plagued season where he only plaed 50 games between the Wings and Bruins, but was excellent in 7 playoff games, notching 10 points.
Not only will a potential extension depend on how the Leafs do and how Bertuzzi fits with the team, but also on how his health holds up, as he has only played more than 65 games just 3 times in his career so far.
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Insider reporting that the Leafs wanted to sign UFA to long-term deal; still a possibility

How many years would you like to see the Leafs extend Tyler Bertuzzi?

5 or more3415.2 %
3-412254.5 %
2 at most4721 %
0 - unless he's healthy219.4 %
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