How Tyler Bertuzzi affects the game

Derek James
3 min readJul 11, 2020

There were few bright spots on the 2020 Detroit Red Wings. Of those players was lone all-star Tyler Bertuzzi. Bertuzzi finished the season with 48 points, second only to Dylan Larkin’s 53 points, and was nine more points than his team had in 71 games.

What’s impressive about Bertuzzi is how he doesn’t need the puck to be effective. He earns his points in the front of the net, deflecting pucks and chipping rebounds into the goal.

What’s impressive is that Bertuzzi is clearly at his best in front of the net and he continually gets himself in position to make plays. It’s not his fault his team finished dead-last in goals scored this season. With 21 goals, Bertuzzi led the Red Wings in scoring.

This may not have been the case had Dylan Larkin avoided a draught, Anthony Mantha been healthy, or Andreas Athanasiou not been unlucky and traded. Nonetheless, Bertuzzi will go down as the team’s leading goal scorer.

It’s interesting to see what happens when a team takes Bertuzzi out of his comfort zone, like the Minnesota Wild did on January 22. In the 4–2 loss, Bertuzzi registered three shots, scoring on none of them, and had two more attempts blocked.

The Wild did a good job of forcing Bertuzzi to handle the puck in space and not allow him to get established in front of Devin Dubnyk. Bertuzzi saw just two shots in the slot or lower half of the face-off circles.

Preventing Bertuzzi from planting himself in front of Dubnyk also kept Bertuzzi from being a screener. We saw in this same game how Bertuzzi’s presence in front of the net can change the way a goaltender plays. Look at Filip Zadina’s first period goal. Zadina is aiming for Bertuzzi but Joel Errikson Ek deflects the pass over Dubnyk’s shoulder. However, Dubnyk can’t risk leave too much of a window for Zadina to shoot or Bertuzzi too much room in case Errikson Ek doesn’t break up the pass.

These are just a couple ways Bertuzzi can impact a game without a ton of flash or needing to have the puck. His presence is enough of a threat that forces opposing teams to know where Bertuzzi is at all times.

When these two teams met a month later, Bertuzzi was held to just one shot in the 7–1 loss. While Bertuzzi missed another, the shot he landed on net was fired from the edge of the face-off circle and slot. While the Wild did well in limiting Bertuzzi’s chances in the first meeting, they did even better in the second.



Derek James

Former NBA and WNBA media member | Current Content Strategist | #LGRW | Casual Musician