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Detroit Red Wings acquire forward Todd Bertuzzi from Florida

The Canadian Press
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The Hockey News
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Detroit Red Wings acquire forward Todd Bertuzzi from Florida

The Canadian Press
By:

The Panthers received forward Shawn Matthias and up to two conditional draft picks in the deal. If Bertuzzi signs with Detroit when he becomes an unrestricted free agent in July, the Red Wings will part with one pick this year and another next year.

The six-foot-three, 245-pound Bertuzzi hasn't played since October due a back injury. He underwent surgery in November. Bertuzzi has recorded a goal and six assists in seven games after being acquired last summer in a trade that sent top goalie Roberto Luongo to Vancouver.

"I'm very fortunate that Detroit had enough faith in me to know that I'll come back and play well," Bertuzzi said.

He said he's not going to rush back to the lineup, instead waiting for his back to be 100 per cent before returning to action.

"I'm fortunate that Detroit's where they are in the standings," he said.

Bertuzzi, who's earning US$5.27 million US this season, has registered 224 goals and 312 assists in 717 games with the New York Islanders, Vancouver and Florida.

"Bertuzzi is a huge, talented man that adds the dimensions of size and skill that we need on one of our top two lines," Detroit coach Mike Babcock told The Associated Press. "We'll give up a first-round pick if there are a lot of conditions met, such as us winning a lot in the playoffs and him helping us do that. We'd be happy to give up that pick."

While playing for the Canucks in March 2004, Bertuzzi sucker-punched Colorado's Steve Moore in the head in one of hockey's ugliest episodes. He served a 17-month suspension.

On Monday night, the Red Wings acquired forward Kyle Calder in a three-team deal for forward Jason Williams.

"Our focus all along was to be a harder team to play against, and both Bertuzzi and Calder will help us do that," Babcock said. "There are no guarantees, but the front office led by Kenny Holland and Jim Nill has given us a better opportunity to be successful."

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Detroit Red Wings acquire forward Todd Bertuzzi from Florida