Along the way, there weren't a lot of players who appeared to perform beyond expectations. One of those was forward Todd Bertuzzi. Signed last summer to a one-year deal by general manager Ken Holland, Bertuzzi didn't miss a game -- regular season or playoffs -- for Detroit, and it seemed he finally righted himself after not doing a whole lot in the NHL since the infamous Steve Moore incident.
Holland rewarded Bertuzzi for that effort Wednesday, signing him for the next two seasons at the low price of $3.875 million.
Bertuzzi looked out of place at times last season. He's not nearly as physical a player as he once was, as his history of back troubles have clearly affected the way he prepares and plays.
Instead, Bertuzzi improved his presence in front of the net. His offensive numbers -- 18 goals and 44 points in 82 games -- weren't impressive. In fact, Bertuzzi matched his point total from the previous season in Calgary, and he only played 66 games for the Flames.
Where Bertuzzi appeared to really come into form was during the playoffs. He set a career high with 11 points in 12 playoff games, marking his first double-digit point production in a playoff campaign since the 1994-95 season, when he played for the Guelph Storm of the Ontario Hockey League.
"He does a few things for us,'' Holland said. "He's a big body. He's hard to knock off the puck in the offensive zone.Bertuzzi will be 36 in February, so he will have to stay in shape to last the length of his contract. Even if he can't pull that off, it comes at very little cost to the Red Wings, who value the ability of veteran players to contribute in their system.
"He came to camp in great shape, he's worked on his physical conditioning. He's made a conscious effort to become a net-front presence. We got scoring chances because he's in front of the net drawing attention.''