May 2, 2014, 1:25 PM EDT
At 39, pending UFA Todd Bertuzzi knows his time with the Red Wings might be up.
“I still feel like I can play, and I’d love to come back, but I don’t know if there’s room,” Bertuzzi said, per the Detroit Free Press. “If there’s no room here, or the coaching staff doesn’t feel there is a fit for me, I’ll look to see if there is anything else out there.”
Bertuzzi just wrapped the last of a two-year, $4.15 million deal and, to be blunt, the season was a disappointment — he scored nine goals in just 59 appearances, finishing with a minus-17 rating while getting phased out of the lineup down the stretch and into the playoffs, where he only dressed once.
The veteran power forward admitted he was “disappointed” not to get in the mix during the postseason, but that doesn’t seem to have soured him on playing for the Wings — having spent the last five years in Detroit, Bertuzzi was effusive in his praise for the city, the organization and his experience playing in Hockeytown.
“I’d put Detroit as my favorite place to have played. California and Florida had their weather benefits, but as far as lifestyle, we couldn’t have lived in a better area,” he said. “I love playing here, with the ownership and management that we have, the way they run the organization, you’re treated first class.”
Assuming Detroit goes in a different direction — and with 11 forwards under contract next year, that seems likely — it’ll be interesting to see if Bertuzzi finds work elsewhere, because the big issue hanging over him and his playing future is the Steve Moore trial. The civil suit, in which Moore is reportedly seeking $38 million in damages, is set to begin this September in an Ontario court, and could be the kind of distraction teams want to distance themselves from.
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