Maple Leafs Prized Free Agent Addition Is Officially In The Doghouse

Graham Montgomery
November 3, 2023  (6:22 PM)

The Leafs have been somewhat disappointing to start the season as they sit 3rd in the Atlantic with a 5-3-2 record through ten games. Part of the reason for the slow start is big name free agent acquisition Tyler Bertuzzi, who has not lived up to expectations so far.

Bertuzzi Earns A Spot In Keefe's Doghouse

When the Leafs signed Tyler Bertuzzi they were probably expecting him to score some goals and get under the skin of his opponents. So far though he has failed to do either of those things. After ten games Bertuzzi has just two goals and 12 penalty minutes, all of which have come from minor penalties. That puts him on pace for just 16 goals despite largely playing alongside Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner. It also puts him on pace for 49 minor penalties which certainly does not help.

Head coach Sheldon Keefe has taken notice of this and he's limited Bertuzzi's role with the team as a result. The winger last played in his regular top-line role October 26th when the Leafs defeated the Stars in Dallas 4-1, handing them their only regulation loss of the season. Bertuzzi scored a goal in that game with just over 18 minutes of ice time. After that, his time on ice steadily declined, dropping to 16:06 against Nashville, 14:00 against the Kings, and then to a season-low 11:32 against Boston.

Bertuzzi's Response To Marchand

Keefe may have elected to limit Bertuzzi's ice time even more than he had intended after an incident in the game against Boston in which Brad Marchand injured Leafs defenseman Timothy Liljegren. While the Leafs response to the situation was lack luster as a whole, Bertuzzi in particular looked not just disinterested in standing up to Marchand, but he actually seemed to be joking alongside him as a sat isolated away from his teammates on the Leafs bench.
When asked about Bertuzzi's deployment after the game, head coach Sheldon Keefe went straight to the point.
"He just needs to simplify his game. Today, we had a very simple plan. He failed to execute that, so other guys had to take his place."

Bertuzzi no doubt had a bad game against Boston regardless of the Marchand antics. He was a -1 player largely of his own doing as Boston scored on a play thanks to his man being open. He turned the puck over several times both in the defensive zone and the offensive zone and he did not look to be particularly interested in playing smart fundamental hockey. The Leafs are relying on Bertuzzi to be a top six if not top line player this year so he will need to improve his play going forward.
As seen on Upon Further Review: Why is Tyler Bertuzzi in Sheldon Keefe's doghouse?
Maple Leafs Prized Free Agent Addition Is Officially In The Doghouse

Who has been the worst offseason addition for the Leafs?

Bertuzzi8330.9 %
Domi5420.1 %
Klingberg4817.8 %
Reaves8431.2 %
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