Tyler Bertuzzi is the Kings’ free agent target.

Pierre-Luc Dubois was dealt by the Los Angeles Kings earlier this week, which drastically altered their intentions for this offseason.

Although it’s a terrific move for Quinton Byfield to return to center, that deal leaves a void in their lineup at left-winger.

Byfield will now get the chance to play as the line leader after serving as a mainstay on the top line alongside Anze Kopitar and Adrian Kempe.

Among Kopitar and Kempe, Byfield was one of the Kings’ finest forwards the previous season, and his skill set is not available in free agency. The Kings won’t be able to match his effect.

However, the Kings can locate a strong player to compliment their front line. Better still, someone who meets the description of a winger who complements Kopitar effectively and possesses that “desire to win” that Rob Blake has spoken about.

Hard-working, reliable wingers with the ability to grind in the corners and recover pucks are usually Kopitar’s favorite players.

Let’s introduce Tyler Bertuzzi:

diligent, dependable, adept at retrieving pucks, formidable opponent—you get the idea. Many of the components that LA is currently lacking in their forward group are brought in by Tyler Bertuzzi.

He never stays out of the middle of things and has no problem getting into the unclean parts of the ice.

Based on monitoring statistics from AllThreeZones, he would be among the Kings’ most physical forwards and one of their greatest forecheckers right away.

He has the offensive ability to be a top-six forward and compete with players like Kopitar and Kempe, with a career 82-game average of 22 goals and 52 points.

Though Bertuzzi scored eighteen of his twenty-one goals from outside the circle and below the hash lines last season, he does fit better as a finisher than a creator. He would thrive off of Kempe’s rebounds and both Kopitar and Kempe’s playmaking.

With his ability to recover pucks, use force, and support two more experienced teammates, Bertuzzi might be a great addition to LA.

But there are two small issues. The Kings are a club that is more oriented on the rush, but he develops much of his offense off the cycle. Under Hiller, this might shift somewhat the next season, but major adjustments are unlikely.

The fact that Kopitar and Kempe still contribute significantly to the cycle would be beneficial, but it’s something to be aware of.

His contract is the second area of worry. After signing a $5.5 million AAV contract, he is expected to take a slight hit and still make about $5 million according to most contract forecasts.

For a LW1, that’s not a bad contract, but if Bertuzzi can average about 45 points per game and 20 goals, that’s a bit pricey.

The deal becomes extremely alluring if the Kings can get him down to around Trevor Moore’s cap charge of $4.2 million.

They might also hope for Bertuzzi to see a modest increase in output while playing on a top line, which would propel him into the 50+ point zone.

Bertuzzi could be a fantastic fit next to Kempe and Kopitar and add a lot of qualities to the Kings lineup that they are currently lacking.

The Kings will have a ton of alternatives come summertime, but they need to add talent to that LW1 hole, and Bertuzzit might be the solution.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *