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A Nudge From Nick Foligno Helped Get Tyler Bertuzzi to Chicago



Nick Foligno might turn out to be Kyle Davidson’s best recruiter. Not only did he chat with Alec Martinez, but it turns out that he had a discussion or two with Tyler Bertuzzi as well. The two both played in Sudbury and also spent a season together in Boston.

Wouldn’t you know it–both Martinez and Bertuzzi end up signing with the Blackhawks during Davidson’s spending binge on Monday. Discussions between players is hardly verboten–but it may have helped Davidson land a player who scored 30 goals just two seasons ago and can help pull the Blackhawks back to contention.

“I think Nick’s got a lot of friends around the league,” Davidson said. “He’s a guy, I think, whose network is very large. It’s kind of funny when we hear that. We don’t ask them to do these things but Nick cares. He knows a lot of people, he loves the team and he wants to push this thing forward.”

Signing Bertuzzi is one way to get that push going.

Tyler Bertuzzi Knows a Thing or Two About a Rebuild

The majority of Bertuzzi’s career was spent in Detroit, the team that drafted him in the second round and saw him work his way through the pipeline all the way to the big club. After Bertuzzi locked down the Calder Cup MVP after winning the whole thing with AHL affiliate Grand Rapids, Bertuzzi started his trek with the Red Wings.

But just as he got to the top, the Red Wings started their descent into a rebuild. Along with current Blackhawk Andreas Athanasiou, Anthony Mantha, and Dylan Larkin, Bertuzzi was tabbed as the new core to build around. Things didn’t go exactly as planned. One year after scoring his 30 goals, the 29-year-old was dealt to Boston and then signed a one-year deal with Toronto last offseason.

Now, he has a four-year deal in Chicago to settle into a role that hopefully sees the rebuild-to-contention cycle all with the same team. For his part, Bertuzzi welcomes the stability.

“I think it’s just going to allow me to play more freely and do my thing and just worry about hockey, focus on hockey,” Bertuzzi said.  “Just go out there and know to work hard, I don’t have to worry about that. I can play hockey and that can be my number one focus. No background noise on if I’m going to sign there or where I’m going to go or whatever.”

Bertuzzi is One of Several Signings To Help Get Out of the Rebuild

Bertuzzi was one of the big players in Detroit, but had a heck of a lot more help in both Boston and Toronto. Hence the difference. But he has also has the foresight of seeing just how important the patience piece is–especially as the Red Wings were but a point away from making the playoffs.

“It obviously takes a little bit of time,” Bertuzzi said.  “The Red Wings had a good chance to make the playoffs last year and optimistic it takes time. Once you get through it, it’s worth it in the end. Just every year get better and better and eventually that opportunity is going to come.”

The Blackhawks are banking on Tyler Bertuzzi to be one of those reasons that the opportunity finally arrives. Whether it’s being the pest on the ice he’s known to be, scoring one of his greasy goals, or helping the younger players come along, Foligno saw something in Bertuzzi to reach out and nudge him in Chicago’s direction.

Now, we’ll see how Bertuzzi factors in to nudge the Blackhawks out of a rebuild.

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