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Will the mutual interest with Maple Leafs and Bertuzzi lead to a deal?

No solid offer has been made for the feisty forward yet, likely because the Leafs have several holes to fill

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Tyler Bertuzzi wants to stay with the Maple Leafs.

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The Leafs, in turn, would like to re-sign the top-six winger.

However, whether the parties succeed in reaching the point where Bertuzzi signs a new contract is another matter.

“We’ve had productive conversations,” Bertuzzi’s agent, Todd Reynolds, said Tuesday. “But the player realizes that there are other areas the team needs to focus on. We’ll see where it goes.”

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The areas that Leafs general manager Brad Treliving will be dealing with, either through free agency when it opens on July 1 or through trades, are pretty obvious.

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With that in mind, this is likely why, while the sides have talked, no solid offer has been made to Bertuzzi by the Leafs.

In goal, Treliving needs to add a significant netminder to play with Joseph Woll.

On the blue line, Treliving has a chance, if he can pull it off, to bring in three defenders. The Leafs have three top-six D-men – Morgan Rielly, Jake McCabe and Simon Benoit – under contract through 2024-2025. Timothy Liljegren is a restricted free agent and arbitration eligible.

Maple Leafs General Manager Brad Treliving has several priorities this season, and that may mean there won't be enough money left to re-sign Tyler Bertuzzi.  Jack Boland/Toronto Sun
Maple Leafs General Manager Brad Treliving has several priorities this season, and that may mean there won’t be enough money left to re-sign Tyler Bertuzzi. Jack Boland/Toronto Sun

In attack, Treliving needs to find a center on the third line, whether it is Max Domi or someone else.

The salary cap space for Treliving, who will receive primary assistance from assistant general manager Brandon Pridham in any signings, will be just under $20 million.

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Toronto’s priorities are a goalie, defensemen and a center.

Will there be enough money left to re-sign Bertuzzi? It doesn’t seem that way, but that can change. Bertuzzi earned $5.5 million on a one-year deal in 2023-24 and finished with 21 goals and 22 assists in 80 games thanks to a better second half. The starting point for the 29-year-old Sudbury, Ontario native on his next contract would likely be at least $5 million.

If the Leafs can’t keep Bertuzzi, you can bet they’ll look to Matthew Knies and Bobby McMann to take another step offensively, and perhaps Easton Cowan to make an impact beyond a nine-game appearance .

There isn’t a sense that the Leafs could re-sign both Bertuzzi and Domi while comfortably taking care of what they need to accomplish in goal and defense.

We will have clarity on Bertuzzi and the other issues in a few weeks.

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