Bruins’ Tyler Bertuzzi Trade Makes It Even Clearer: B’s All In On 2023

Fortune favors the bold


Mar 2, 2023

Bruins general manager Don Sweeney hasn’t just pushed in all his chips on the 2022-23 season. He’s also thrown his watch on the table, the keys to his car and just about anything else he finds valuable at this point.

While it seemed Boston might be done dealing, at least in terms of major significance, Sweeney made it clear he had at least one more blockbuster in him, acquiring winger Tyler Bertuzzi from the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday morning. The Bruins sent a protected 2024 first-round pick and a 2025 fourth-round pick to Steve Yzerman in the deal. The 2024 first-rounder is top-10 protected.

It’s the latest and perhaps most emphatic reminder that it’s 2023 or bust for the Bruins, and they’ll deal with everything else later.

Coincidentally, just as the Bertuzzi news broke Thursday morning, we were taking a look at low-cost rentals the B’s could add to bolster their depth, particularly following injuries to Taylor Hall and Nick Foligno. If the Bruins were still going to make a deal, it seemingly made more sense for them to go that route instead.

What seemed unlikely, at least to us very much on the outside, was further parting with valuable draft capital for an expensive rental. That’s exactly what happened, though. Bertuzzi is in the final season of his contract and carries a significant $4.75 million cap hit. The Red Wings will retain half of the remaining hit, and the Bruins can also find short-term cap relief by potentially adding Hall or Foligno to long-term injured reserve.

At his best, Bertuzzi is far more valuable than his current contract. He scored 30 goals last season. He’s due for a raise, and the Red Wings weren’t willing to give it to him. Thus, it seems unlikely this trade comes with an extension in Boston, though the Bruins have certainly pulled that off before as was the case with Hampus Lindholm.

That the Bruins were willing to part with a second first-round pick in as many weeks for a rental might signal the fact that the injury to Hall or Foligno is significant, and they needed to add an impact player like Bertuzzi. The second thing it says is obvious: No expense will be spared to chase the Stanley Cup this spring.

The Bruins have been historically good since the puck dropped on the 2022-23 season. They should win the Atlantic Division with ease. They are very much in the driver’s seat for the Eastern Conference’s No. 1 seed. Boston is the betting favorite to win the conference and the Cup. With the future of core players like Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci uncertain, it is now or never for one last Cup in this era.

That chase is coming at a price, too:

The price isn’t just financial, either. Short of a trade, the Bruins don’t have a first- or second-round pick until 2025. In fact, they will select in the first three rounds just once over the next two years.


Sweeney should be applauded for being so bold if nothing else. He is staking his future on this very team, a roster he has done incredibly well to assemble. The Capitals deal already looks like a thing of beauty with every passing game. If Bertuzzi is fully healthy, hits the ground running and looks like the second coming of Dustin Brown, Sweeney will deserve all the praise he gets.

That said, there’s obviously a ton of risk here, and he’s staking the future of the Bruins on this one (albeit very good) chance at winning the most difficult tournament in sports.

But his hand just might be that good.

Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images
Boston Bruins forward Tyler Bertuzzi
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