It has been one of the biggest questions asked of me over the past year, amazingly consistent in both frequency and wording. Can (or sometimes “will”) Todd Bertuzzi bounce back?
(Originally published by The Hockey News on January 11)
While anything is possible, my typical response is usually – he may bounce back to close to a point-per-game again, but he will never play a full season again. The big concern with Big Bert is his back. It has held up pretty well so far – the time he missed earlier in the season was due to a concussion.
After just 10 points in 23 contests, Bertuzzi has shown flashes of his old self with nine in his past nine. Playing primarily with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, he is now lining up with talent similar to that of Brendan Morrison and Markus Naslund – his regular linemates in Vancouver when he was at his scoring peak.
From a production perspective, Bertuzzi has regained his touch. Acquiring him will likely give you a point-per-game going forward. However, it is still too early to trust his back and he has also shown that he is susceptible to other injuries.
With 35-plus games left in Anaheim’s schedule, pick him up on the assumption that he'll be good to play in 25 or 30 of them and count anything extra as a bonus. He should salvage 45 to 50 points this season and he’s a 60- or 65-point player going forward…
Sergei Samsonov played his first game for Carolina on a line with Cory Stillman and Rod Brind’Amour. Both Stillman and Brind’Amour seem to produce no matter what the team does with them, so this is exactly the spark Samsonov needs to turn things around. If he can’t produce on this line, then nothing will help. My money is on “nothing will help,” but watch the situation closely…