Tyler Bertuzzi chatting with Auston Matthews
Photo credit: Sportsnet

It appears as though Tyler Bertuzzi will have a new assignment with the Leafs

Published March 14, 2024 at 6:20 PM

To label Tyler Bertuzzi's first season as a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs as disappointing would be an understatement. He wasn't supposed to score 40 goals or rack up 80 points, but a lot more was expected than his 12 goals and 29 points through 63 games. He's had his chances with both Auston Matthews and John Tavares in the top-6, but the production just hasn't been consistent - or present, for that matter.

Following Thursday's morning skate, Sheldon Keefe spoke with the media and explained his decision to give Bertuzzi another chance on the team's top line and what he has to do to be successful there.

"It's just about continuing to do what he does well and not overthinking it... The things Bert does really well are the things that players that have success alongside Auston do, which is forecheck, make plays in tight spaces, create turnovers, be good around the net, go to the net and create more space for Auston, and whether it's Mitch or whomever, to do their work in the offensive zone. He checks a lot of those boxes... Those are all things that Bert has the ability to do.

We've been talking about this for awhile now, about re-visiting it at some point. I don't think Bert's game was in a good space earlier this season when it didn't go well. Now it's worth giving it another go here. Obviously, we don't have Mitch alongside them, so it's a little bit different."

On whether or not Keefe will give the Bertuzzi-Matthews-Marner line a good long look once Marner returns to the lineup, the Leafs' bench boss had this to say:

"I think so. We'll see how it goes with the guys right here and take it from there, both with how he (Bertuzzi) is doing and how the lines around him are doing."

Due to Mitch Marner's continued absence, Bertuzzi will see top-line minutes again, but the clock seems to be ticking, and his game will be under a magnifying glass. He hasn't registered a shot on goal in his last 3 games, is without a goal in his last 5 games, and has just 1 point during that stretch. He has been a lot more aggressive off the puck, but the Maple Leafs are going to need a lot more out of him if he continues to see ice-time with Matthews.

As seen on NHL.com/mapleleafs/video
March 14   |   676 answers
It appears as though Tyler Bertuzzi will have a new assignment with the Leafs

With how Tyler Bertuzzi has performed in Toronto this season, do you think he has earned an extension?

Yes, the lack of production isn't his fault33749.9 %
Not yet, but maybe he will after the playoffs28442 %
No, find someone cheaper and more effective558.1 %
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