Bertuzzi In, Maltby Out for Red Wings Against Ducks

Todd Bertuzzi will be in the Detroit Red Wings’ lineup tonight as they host the Anaheim Ducks, leaving Kirk Maltby on the outside looking in for the first time since 1996.

Bertuzzi, recovering from a sore back, was questionable for tonight’s game. With Justin Abdelkader and Kris Draper also injured, the possibility of Maltby, who was waived earlier this week and assigned to the Grand Rapids Griffins, stepping into the lineup was very real.

Instead, Maltby will take the weekend to consider his options. Reportedly he is leaning towards retirement rather than accepting assignment to the American Hockey League.

Lightning Claim Ritola, Meech and Maltby Waived

Forward Mattias Ritola has been claimed on waivers by the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Ritola was placed on waivers by the Detroit Red Wings on Monday, with the team hoping he would clear so they could send him to the Grand Rapids Griffins. He is a known commodity to Tampa Bay scout Pat Verbeek and general manager Steve Yzerman, who were with the Detroit organization last season.

The Red Wings also announced that veteran forward Kirk Maltby and defenseman Derek Meech were waived, with the intent of sending them to Grand Rapids. Meech cleared waivers last month.

The moves get the Red Wings down to a 23-man roster.

Red Wings Waive Ritola

The Detroit Red Wings waived forward Mattias Ritola on Monday. If he goes unclaimed, he will be sent to the Grand Rapids Griffins.

Ritola was one of seven forwards aiming to fill the last five roster spots up front for Detroit. Justin Abdelkader and Darren Helm are set to play on the team’s fourth line, likely joined by Drew Miller and the currently-injured Kris Draper and Patrick Eaves.

Longtime Red Wing Kirk Maltby was also in the mix but is also expected to be waived and sent to Grand Rapids.

Maltby Signs Two-way Deal with Detroit

The Detroit Red Wings signed veteran forward Kirk Maltby to a one-year, two-way deal on Wednesday.

While financial terms were not officially announced, the contract is reportedly worth $525,000 at the NHL level. Maltby would earn $105,000 while playing in the AHL, the maximum allowed for players on a two-way contract without having to clear re-entry waivers.

Maltby is likely to start the season in Grand Rapids as there are already six forwards fighting for three spots on the Red Wings’ fourth line. Justin Abdelkader, Darren Helm, Patrick Eaves, Kris Draper, Drew Miller and Mattias Ritola are all fighting for a spot in the lineup, with either Miller or Ritola expected to be moved before the start of the season.

Bertuzzi Re-Ups with Red Wings

Todd Bertuzzi has agreed to a two-year contract with the Detroit Red Wings, the team announced on Wednesday.

The contract is reportedly worth $3.875 million for an annual cap hit of $1.9375 million. That’s a raise of over $400,000 from the $1.5 million he earned for the 2009-10 season.

With Bertuzzi signed, the Red Wings have retained each of their targeted unrestricted free agents. Nicklas Lidstrom and Tomas Holmstrom signed new deals with the team earlier this month while Jason Williams and Brett Lebda aren’t expected to return to Detroit. Andreas Lilja and Kirk Maltby could return but were not stated to be high priorities for Red Wings’ general manager Ken Holland.

Holland will now focus on the team’s restricted free agents. That list includes Darren Helm, Justin Abdelkader, Drew Miller, Patrick Eaves, and Derek Meech.

Maltby Out for Season After Shoulder Surgery

Detroit Red Wings forward Kirk Maltby will miss more time than originally expected after his shoulder surgery, general manager Ken Holland announced on Tuesday.

“There was more damage to the shoulder than the doctor originally anticipated,” Holland said. “There was way more wear and tear, and given the surgery, in all likelihood, it’ll be at least 12 weeks before Kirk can start to push weights. So right now, looks like he’s out for the season.”

Maltby, who scored the opening goal in his final game of the season, could have played his last game as a Red Wing. He will be an unrestricted free agent this summer.

“From talking to him, I think he’d like to play (next season),” Holland said. “I have interest in him coming back. A lot depends on if his shoulder is in good shape. We’ll address it in June.”

Red Wings – Avalanche Pregame Notes

The National Hockey League returns to action following the Olympic Break tonight as the Detroit Red Wings visit the Colorado Avalanche.

Colorado forward Paul Stastny, Detroit defenseman Brian Rafalski and Detroit head coach Mike Babcock were all active yesterday, with Babcock’s Team Canada downing a Team USA squad featuring Stastny and Rafalski in the Gold Medal Game.

Andreas Lilja will make his first appearance of the season on the Red Wings’ blue line, having been cleared to play after suffering post-concussion symptoms for nearly a year. His last game was 366 days ago, February 28, 2009.

I’d been thinking that Lilja’s return combined with Rafalski having played three games in five days would lead to Rafalski sitting this one out but I’m not seeing any news on that front. I actually haven’t come across any lineup notes.

The Red Wings are as healthy as they’ve been all season, with Kirk Maltby the only injured player. With Maltby out and Brad May having been sent to Grand Rapids, the Red Wings will dress all 12 healthy forwards. Two defensemen will be scratched, with one of them possibly being dealt for a depth forward before Wednesday’s trade deadline.

Maltby Out for Season, Lilja Cleared to Play

Salary cap woes for the Detroit Red Wings disappeared on Wednesday as veteran forward Kirk Maltby opted for season-ending surgery on his injured right shoulder.

The Red Wings will place Maltby on long-term injured reserve, freeing up $750,00 in cap space. Combined with Brad May being sent to Grand Rapids, the Wings have cleared enough room to activate now-healthy defenseman Andreas Lilja.

Lilja will be available to the Red Wings on Monday when they visit the Colorado Avalanche. It will be exactly one year and one day since he last played in the NHL, having suffered from post-concussion symptoms since a fight with Nashville’s Shea Weber on February 28, 2009.

Maltby’s recovery period is expected to be four to six weeks, meaning he could return for the playoffs, should the Red Wings make the postseason.