Red Wings negotiating with forward Todd Bertuzzi
by Michael Zuidema | The Grand Rapids Press
Monday August 17, 2009, 11:00 PM
The Detroit Red Wings could be poised to welcome another former player back to town.
General manager Ken Holland confirmed Monday the club is negotiating with free-agent forward Todd Bertuzzi.
"We're talking to him," Holland said.
Holland declined further comment, but a league source said the club offered Bertuzzi a one-year deal worth $1.5 million for next season, and that there is a strong indication that a deal will get done this week.
After losing forwards Marian Hossa, Mikael Samuelsson and Tomas Kopecky to free agency and Jiri Hudler to Russia's Kontinental Hockey League -- four players who combined for 88 goals last season -- Detroit signed free-agent forwards Jason Williams, another ex-Red Wing, and Patrick Eaves earlier this month.
But Holland feels they still need more offense.
The Red Wings like the size and physical dimension Bertuzzi (6-foot-3, 231 pounds) brings. Bertuzzi, however, also tends to take bad penalties and has been injury-prone.
The Red Wings are up against the salary cap for this season. They have 22 players signed for $56.2 million -- for those projected to make the roster -- which is just under the $56.8 million salary cap.
Signing Bertuzzi would put Red Wings over the cap, and possibly force them to trade or waive a player before the start of the regular season.
The Philadelphia Flyers also are believed to be interested in Bertuzzi, 34, who had 15 goals, 29 assists and a minus-13 rating in 66 games for the Calgary Flames last season.
Bertuzzi's agent, Pat Morris, didn't respond to a phone message.
It appears defenseman Andreas Lilja will start the season on long-term injured reserve, which would take his $1.25 million salary off the cap. Lilja hasn't played since Feb. 28 due to headaches and concussion-like symptoms.
"He's getting a little better, but if camp were to start tomorrow he couldn't go," Holland said.
The Red Wings acquired Bertuzzi from the Florida Panthers on Feb. 27, 2007, in exchange for prospect Shawn Matthias and a second-round draft pick. Bertuzzi, who had back surgery early that season, played just eight regular-season games for the Red Wings and had two goals and two assists.
He also appeared in 16 playoff games, with three goals and four assists.
The Red Wings offered him a one-year deal for $4 million after the season, but the Anaheim Ducks signed him to a two-year, $8 million contract.
Bertuzzi had 14 goals and 26 assists in 68 games for the Ducks in '07-08. Due to salary cap constraints, Anaheim bought out the last year of his contract and Bertuzzi signed with Calgary.
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