Hoping to improve the overall product on the ice, the Detroit Red Wings have been one of the busiest teams in the league this offseason, as the front office has made several significant changes to the roster and one of their top young forwards believes these moves will pay off in a massive way next season.
After finishing dead last in the standings this past season with a 17-49-5 record, winger Tyler Bertuzzi is determined to help his team take a step forward in its rebuilding process and he’s hopeful the unusually long offseason won’t significantly impact their performance when hockey returns in the next couple of months.
Referencing his time with Detroit over the last two seasons, Bertuzzi admitted the club must perform considerably better and they’ll need to display a lot of signs of progression throughout the 2020-21 campaign. Since they were one of six teams that didn’t qualify for the playoffs, the 25-year old feels the extended time off has helped each player improve their craft over the summer and has better prepared them for the start of next season.
“We want to be better as a group and I look back on the last two years and we need to be a lot better,” Bertuzzi detailed. “With the new guys coming in, our mentality going into this season – we had a lot of off-ice training, a lot of skating, a lot of prep for the season – we’re looking forward to get back at it.”
Citing some of Detroit’s offseason transactions, Bertuzzi couldn’t be happier about the moves the front office has made this offseason and is very excited to share the ice with his new teammates. In particular, the 6-foot-1 forward mentioned his prior history with players like defenseman Troy Stecher, forward Sam Gagner, along with his knowledge of veteran Bobby Ryan, and discussed how those players will be able to help this team moving forward.
“I love the moves, I played with [Troy] Stecher at the World Championship in Czech Republic,” Bertuzzi explained. “So, I know he’s a good player, good defenseman, two-way player. Bobby Ryan, veteran guy that’s going to bring a lot of offense, and we signed “Gags” [Sam Gagner] again and he’s a great player. It’s looking good, our team is looking a lot better than last year and we’re excited to get back.”
Over his 71 games in 2019-20, Bertuzzi averaged a career-high 19:19 minutes of ice time, producing 21 goals – including 18 of them during five-on-five play – 48 points, 0.3 goals per game, 0.68 points per game, 129 shots on net, 71 hits, 30 blocks, 25 takeaways, and a 66.7% faceoff percentage.
While training camp isn’t expected to open for another few months, the former second-round pick explained how he’s still been able to practice at local arenas with players like Anthony Mantha, Robby Fabbri, Dylan Larkin, Luke Glendening, and many more during his time off. Despite the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic has brought, the Red Wings have still found a way to stay in shape and continue their development during this unprecedented time.
“We can see each other every day, we’re talking every day about how we want to just play hockey, we’re working out hard together, we’re skating, and we’re playing little games and scrimmages here and there to just kind of keep up with game shape and game feeling,” Bertuzzi discussed. “So, I think we’re doing a good job as a team and as a group to try and get better.”