Detroit Red Wings Talking Extension with Todd Bertuzzi, and He's Earned It

Matt Hutter@mahutter12Analyst IJanuary 21, 2010

UNIONDALE, NY - JANUARY 12:  Todd Bertuzzi #44 of the Detroit Red Wings skates during the game against the New York Islanders at the Nassau Coliseum on January 12, 2010 in Uniondale, New York.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

If things go the way both sides would like them, it looks like Todd Bertuzzi will end his NHL career as a Detroit Red Wing.

The Detroit Free Press is reporting that the team is interested in offering Bertuzzi an extension to his one-year, $1.5 million deal he signed over the summer.

At the time, GM Ken Holland hoped that Bertuzzi would be able to give the team 40-plus points and add a physical presence, playing on one of the top two lines.

Bertuzzi is on pace to score 44 points this season and, in the absence of Johan Franzen, has ably filled in as Detroit's lone power-forward.

Additionally, Bertuzzi has, for the first time in his career, devoted significant effort to rounding out the defensive side of his game.

Though currently a minus-3, Bertuzzi has exhibited great defensive awareness game-in and game-out, back-checking hard, getting his stick in lanes, and overpowering opponents in the defensive zone.

Bertuzzi has also proved to be a clutch scorer.

His three game-winning goals are second only to Henrik Zetterberg's four, and two of them came as back-to-back OT/SO winners.

If Bertuzzi does remain in Detroit, his current linemate and center man, Pavel Datsyuk, will likely emerge as a consistent pairing as the two have found good chemistry together.

This, combined with the return of Johan Franzen, would give Detroit two dominating forward pairings (Franzen/Zetterberg, Bertuzzi/Datsyuk) that would provide scoring, strong defensive play, and a physical edge.

Though term and money have yet to be solidified, both sides are confident that neither will be an issue.

Should a new deal be reached, it would actually be one long in coming.

Bertuzzi's first stint in Detroit was at the end of the 2006-07 season when he was acquired at the trade-deadline from Florida in exchange for prospect Shawn Matthias and two conditional draft picks.

As he was still recovering from a back surgery that had kept him out of the lineup for the majority of the season, Bertuzzi wasn't all that effective, scoring only four points in eight regular season games and seven points in 16 playoff games.

At the end of the season, GM Ken Holland said the he would like to retain Bertuzzi's services, but only at the right price.

Bertuzzi also expressed interest in staying, but eventually was wooed to Anaheim, who signed him to a two-year, $8 million deal.

When Bertuzzi returned to Detroit this summer, he said that after not getting a deal done in 2007, he had always hoped to somehow find his way back to Detroit.

Though not anywhere near the player he was in his prime, Bertuzzi has established himself as a solid secondary scorer for the Red Wings and, like teammates Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, has emerged as one of the hardest working forwards on the team.

Bertuzzi has proved himself to be more than deserving of an extended stay in Detroit.