Prospect Tyler Bertuzzi sticks with Red Wings

DETROIT - Prospect Tyler Bertuzzi is staying with the Detroit Red Wings for now.

The Wings host the Florida Panthers Monday. Bertuzzi made his season debut in Saturday’s 6-1 loss to St. Louis, finishing minus-3 in 9:13. The Wings were off Sunday, but general manager Ken Holland said Bertuzzi “is staying for now. See if he’s in the lineup.” 

Bertuzzi replaced David Booth, who tweaked his groin Friday. The Wings do have lineup options, as Luke Witkowski’s 10-game suspension has run its course.

Booth had been playing well, so if he’s good to go, Bertuzzi could be sent back to Grand Rapids. Bertuzzi played 5:44 through the first two periods Saturday, and was minus-1. 

“It’s hard when you’re not on any specialty teams,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “It’s hard to get lots of ice time. That’s one of the reasons we haven’t called him up before this — we don’t have lots of ice time for him. If we thought he was clearly better than another winger, it’d be different.

“I think he is somebody that can play in the league for sure, but I don’t necessarily have the ice time for him.”

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Bertuzzi, 22 is a savvy player, with a combination of skill and grit. He looked at home on a line with Andreas Athanasiou and Martin Frk, players he knows from their days together with the Griffins. The Wings had hoped Bertuzzi would make the team out of training camp after he finished last season with playoff MVP honors in the AHL, but he suffered a wrist injury during the exhibition season. Once Bertuzzi joined the Griffins' lineup, he rounded into form quickly, with five goals and four assists in 12 games.

“I just played hard and just tried to find my touch again,” Bertuzzi said. “I feel good now and I was excited to get the call.”

Bertuzzi was a bonus second-round pick from 2013; the Wings got the 58th overall pick from San Jose when the Wings and Sharks swapped first-round selection order. The nephew of former Wings forward Todd Bertuzzi, he played eight games last season with the Wings before suffering a high ankle sprain. 

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