The Toronto Maple Leafs could be searching for a replacement for Zach Hyman if the 29-year-old winger hits the open market on July 28. Perhaps they’ll revisit their interest in Detroit Red Wings forward Tyler Bertuzzi.
During a Friday appearance on Sportsnet 590, Elliotte Friedman suggested Bertuzzi’s style would suit the Leafs. The following day, Friedman reported the Leafs had an interest in the 26-year-old Red Wing but moved on when he suffered a season-ending back injury.
Like Hyman, Bertuzzi is a hardworking forward with a good scoring touch who’s isn’t afraid to battle in the corners or drive to the net. He’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights completing a one-year, $3.5 million contract.
Losing Hyman to free agency would rob the Leafs of an affordable top-six forward with grit in his game. Bertuzzi could be a worthwhile replacement if he’s fully recovered from his back surgery.
That’s assuming the Wings intend to part with Bertuzzi. Detroit Hockey Now’s Bob Duff doesn’t envision that happening unless it’s a multi-player deal involving Leafs winger William Nylander.
Maybe Detroit general manager Steve Yzerman will consider parting with Bertuzzi if he’s planning to sign Hyman as a free agent. Friedman believes the Red Wings will be among his suitors if he becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 28
Yzerman isn’t afraid to make a bold move by shipping out young core players if he feels a change is needed. He traded Anthony Mantha to the Washington Capitals at this year’s trade deadline for Jakub Vrana, Richard Panik and two draft picks.
Perhaps he’ll do the same with Bertuzzi for the right price.