Bertuzzi playing hard ball with Wings; Cheechoo to be bought out?

It appears as if unrestricted free agent Todd Bertuzzi may opt to test the open market to see if any more lucrative offers come along than the two-year deal that the Red Wings offered that is most likely worth around the $1.5 million per season that Bertuzzi made this past year.

Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland appeared on the “NHL Live” radio program where he touched upon several topics including his ongoing negotiations with Bertuzzi and his agent Pat Morris.

“We have interest in him coming back,” Holland said of Bertuzzi. “I think he’s interested in coming back. But it’s a cap world. We only have so much to offer.”

Prior to this past season, Bertuzzi had spent time in a Wings uniform once before after he was acquired from Florida at the trade deadline in 2007. When the season ended, indications were that Bertuzzi was interested in staying and that the Wings were interested in keeping him. However, Bertuzzi left the organization during the free agency period to sign a two-year deal with the Anaheim Ducks for $8 million. Bertuzzi was later placed on waivers by the Ducks.

“We’ll continue to talk to him,” Holland said. “We’d like to have him back, but obviously, there’s gotta be a fit financially for the player and for us. Talks are ongoing. We’ll see where they go.”

In other news, reports are also circulating that the Ottawa Senators are looking to buy out the contract of forward Jonathan Cheechoo when the NHL buyout period begins next week. During that time, each team has a two week window in which they can buy out players for 2/3 of the value of their current salary to be paid over two-times the length of the agreed deal. Cheechoo is signed for $3.5 million for next season which would give the Senators a cap hit of $1,165,500 cap hit for the next 2 seasons.

Cheechoo came to Ottawa last summer as a part of the Dany Heatley trade that sent Heatley to San Jose in exchange for Cheechoo, forward Milan Michalek and a fifth round draft pick in the upcoming draft. The 29-year-old finished the season with five goals and nine assists for 14 points in 61 games with the Senators. Cheechoo also spent time with Ottawa’s AHL affiliate, the Binghamton Senators, where he totalled another 14 points in 25 games.

Cheechoo’s best performance came in 2005-2006 when he tallied 56 goals and 93 points in 82 games for the San Jose Sharks alongside center Joe Thornton. Since that season, Cheechoo’s numbers have steadily declined.

No word yet on where Cheechoo could end up, although several teams could look to sign Cheechoo later this summer to add depth to their lineup for a low cost. One interesting scenario would be if the Pittsburgh Penguins took a chance and signed Cheechoo for cheap this summer. Pittsburgh has taken chances on wingers in the past who fell to the late stages of free agency, such as Miroslav Satan, to experiment and see if they thrive alongside Sidney Crosby, who the Penguins are constantly trying to match with a suitable winger. Cheechoo had his best season alongside center Joe Thornton in San Jose and could possibly rejuvenate his career alongside Sidney Crosby.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *