Todd Bertuzzi is returning to a Canadian club, signing a one-year contract worth $1.95 million US with the Calgary Flames.
Bertuzzi had 14 goals and 26 assists in 68 games with a plus-8 rating last season with Anaheim. He rebounded after a 2006-07 season marred by injury, but was placed on waivers by the Ducks on June 26 due to team financial constraints.
"Todd is a proven scorer with the ability to play both wings," Flames general manager Darryl Sutter said in a statement. "He expressed to us that he wanted to play in Canada and that desire along with signing him to a one-year deal was important to our philosophy. He wanted to play on a good team and it fit our money. Additionally, our captain, Jarome Iginla, was a strong supporter of Todd and wanted him on our team."
Sutter said in a conference call that the Flames had been in contact with Bertuzzi and his agent, Pat Morris, not long after he was waived.
"I talk to our captain lots about a lot of players and the one player that he identified more than anybody that if we were going to add a veteran forward was Bertuzzi," said Sutter.
The Sudbury, Ont., native has 240 goals, 340 assists and 1,147 penalty minutes in 793 career games after being drafted 23rd overall by the New York Islanders in 1993.
Bertuzzi, 33, enjoyed his greatest success with the Vancouver Canucks, with career highs in 2002-03 when he scored 46 goals and 51 assists. He was a member of Canada's team at the 2006 Torino Winter Olympics.
Moore lawsuit pending
The six-foot-three, 230-pound forward is facing a lawsuit filed in the Ontario court system by former Colorado Avalanche player Steve Moore, who is seeking civil damages from Bertuzzi stemming from a 2004 on-ice incident. Moore has not played in the NHL since.
Criminal charges filed against Bertuzzi in Vancouver led to the rugged winger pleading guilty to assault and receiving a sentence of one year's probation plus community service.
Sutter said he wasn't concerned that Bertuzzi was coming back to play in Canada, where his past would be more likely to be brought up than in the U.S.
"He's a good player and he's a proven player, and I give Todd Bertuzzi a lot of credit for wanting to play … that was his whole thing in the last weeks was wanting to play in Canada."
Bertuzzi was traded by Vancouver to Florida as part of a 2006 multi-player trade that saw goalie Roberto Luongo move to the Canucks.
Due to a back injury, Bertuzzi played just seven games for the Panthers, scoring only once. Florida traded him to Detroit at the 2007 trade deadline, and he managed 11 points in 24 regular-season and playoff games with the Red Wings before signing last summer with the Ducks.
Bertuzzi had one year remaining on his current deal and will be owed nearly $1.4 million US from Anaheim over each of the next two seasons.