Jeff Blashill kept an eye on who the Detroit Red Wings picked as they went deep into the draft – but his keener interest is in which prospects can help the Wings as soon as next season.
It sure sounds like Tyler Bertuzzi has made the 2017-18 roster barring a major setback.
Speaking after today's Day 2 of the NHL draft saw the Wings add five defensemen, four forwards and a goaltender after selecting 6-foot-6 center Michael Rasmussen in first round, Blashill was asked about the 2017 Calder Cup Griffins, and whether someone like Tyler Bertuzzi could soon join the Wings.
Bertuzzi, 22, was named MVP of the AHL playoffs after producing 19 points in 19 playoff games. He had 37 points in 48 regular-season games. He has a knack for getting open, and plays a deceptively smart game.
“Bert to me is somebody that looks like he is on the verge of becoming a real good NHL player,” Blashill said. “He brings a lot of qualities that we don’t have – he’s hard and has skill. We’ve got a lot of guys with skill that might not be hard. We've got some guys that are hard that might not have as much skill. He's got a pretty good package in my opinion, as a fit on our team. I think the playoffs he had certainly puts him in position to grab a spot next year and make our team better.”
Bertuzzi benefits from the Vegas Golden Knights having selected a forward in the expansion draft (Tomas Nosek) because it opens up a spot in Detroit. Bertuzzi is vulnerable to starting the season in Grand Rapids as he can be sent down without waivers. But with one less roster spot spoken for, a terrific exhibition season from Bertuzzi should help secure a foothold in Detroit.