DETROIT – As this NHL season draws closer to the playoffs, the Wings have already begun working on how the roster for next season and beyond is going to look.
Todd Bertuzzi, who is in the final year of a two-year deal for just under $2 million a season, is close to signing a two-year extension with the team.
Bertuzzi’s agent Patrick Morris sent a text stating that the two sides are close to a deal.
The deal, which could be announced as early as Thursday, is expected to have a salary-cap hit of just over $2 million a season
Bertuzzi, who just turned 37, has played on the Wings’ top line after missing six games earlier this season with a back injury. When Wings coach Mike Babcock put him along with Pavel Datsyuk and John Franzen that unit really caught fire.
He has 12 goals and 17 assists in 54 games this season and is a plus-21, which is the second best plus-minus rating amongst the forwards. Franzen leads the forwards at a plus-26.
Wings GM Ken Holland said earlier this month that the team wanted to re-sign Bertuzzi.
“He’s in great shape and playing with a lot of confidence,” Holland said. “And that line as got great chemistry.
On Tuesday, the team traded for defenseman Kyle Quincey. He’s a restricted free agent at the end of the season and Holland has already said they would make him an offer to remain with the team.
The Wings have a long list of unrestricted free agents to sign or let go this offseason. Defensemen Nicklas Lidstrom, Brad Stuart and Mike Commodore, along with forwards Jiri Hudler and Tomas Holmstrom are all in the final year of deals as is goalie Ty Conklin, who was assigned to Grand Rapids after clearing waivers on Tuesday.
Forwards Darren Helm and Justin Abdelkader are also restricted free agents at the end of the season and both are expected to re-sign.
The Wings first got Bertuzzi prior to the trade deadline in 2007. After that season, he signed a two-year deal with Anaheim before returning back to Detroit after that contract ran out.
Bertuzzi was taken with the 23rd overall pick by the New York Islanders in the 1993 NHL Entry Draft.
In 2004, while playing with Vancouver, Bertuzzi punched Colorado’s Steve Moore from behind in retaliation for an earlier hit by Moore on teammate Markus Naslund. Moore was forced to retire because of injuries sustained after the attack.
Bertuzzi was suspended indefinitely by the league. He was reinstated in August 2005. He still faces a civil lawsuit that prevents Bertuzzi from discussing the incident.