Red Wings acquire Bertuzzi from Panthers

Updated: February 27, 2007, 7:52 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Todd Bertuzzi hasn't played since November, but one NHL team is taking a chance on the veteran forward.

Burnside on Bertuzzi
Scott Burnside
Burnside
The Detroit Red Wings, seeking some grit and offensive zest up front, acquired perhaps the biggest dark horse in the trade deadline marketplace in Todd Bertuzzi. The Red Wings sent the Panthers two conditional picks plus prospect Shawn Matthias.

Bertuzzi has played only seven games this season after being dealt at last year's draft for franchise netminder Roberto Luongo. The deal turned out to be a disaster for the Panthers.

Bertuzzi isn't giving any timeline for his return, although it's thought he will play before the playoffs. If he can contribute, Bertuzzi gives the Red Wings toughness to compete against Nashville, Anaheim and San Jose, all of whom look to be more physically imposing than the Wings. If he can't, the Wings have ventured little, and Bertuzzi will move on as a free agent this summer.

If Bertuzzi does sign with the Wings, the Panthers will get a second-round pick in 2008. The other conditional pick is for this summer's draft and could be a first-, second- or third-round offering depending on how the Red Wings perform and Bertuzzi's personal performance. The triggers for both elements of that conditional pick weren't known.

-- ESPN.com's Scott Burnside

The Detroit Red Wings acquired Bertuzzi from Florida just before Tuesday's NHL trading deadline, adding the tough forward they wanted for the Stanley Cup playoffs.

"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."

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

The 6-foot-3, 245-pound Bertuzzi hasn't played since he had lower back surgery in November -- after being sidelined for more than two weeks by a herniated disc. He has a goal and six assists in seven games after being acquired last summer in a trade that sent top goalie Roberto Luongo to Vancouver.

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."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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