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A push from Nick Foligno helped bring Tyler Bertuzzi to Chicago

Nick Foligno may turn out to be Kyle Davidson’s best recruiter. Not only has he chatted with Alec Martinez, but it turns out he’s also had a conversation or two with Tyler Bertuzzi. The two both played in Sudbury and also spent a season together in Boston.

And who would have thought? Both Martinez and Bertuzzi signed with the Blackhawks on Monday during Davidson’s spending spree. Discussions between players aren’t exactly forbidden – but perhaps it helped Davidson to get a player who scored 30 goals just two seasons ago and can help the Blackhawks get back into the league.

“I think Nick has a lot of friends in the league,” Davidson said. “I think he’s a guy with a very large network. It’s kind of funny when we hear that. We don’t ask them to do these things, but Nick cares. He knows a lot of people, he loves the team and he wants to move things forward.”

The signing of Bertuzzi is one way to kick-start this push.

Tyler Bertuzzi knows a thing or two about rebuilding

Bertuzzi spent most of his career in Detroit, the team that drafted him in the second round and saw him climb the career ladder to the big club. After securing the Calder Cup MVP after winning it all with AHL affiliate team Grand Rapids, Bertuzzi began his journey with the Red Wings.

But just as he was rising to the top, the Red Wings began their descent into rebuilding. Along with current Blackhawks Andreas Athanasiou, Anthony Mantha and Dylan Larkin, Bertuzzi was selected as the new core to build around. However, things didn’t quite go according to plan. A year after scoring his 30 goals, the 29-year-old was traded to Boston and signed a one-year deal with Toronto last offseason.

Now he has a four-year deal in Chicago to settle into a role that will hopefully see him experience the cycle from rebuilding to competing with the same team. Bertuzzi, for his part, welcomes the stability.

“I think it’s going to allow me to play more freely and do my thing and just focus on hockey,” Bertuzzi said. “I just go out there and know I have to work hard, I don’t have to worry about that. I can play hockey and that can be my main focus. No background noise about whether I’m going to sign there or where I’m going or whatever.”

Bertuzzi is one of several new recruits to help with the reconstruction

Bertuzzi was one of the great players in Detroit, but had a hell of a lot more support in both Boston and Toronto, hence the difference. But he also had the foresight to recognize the importance of patience – especially with the Red Wings just one point away from making the playoffs.

“It obviously takes a little time,” Bertuzzi said. “The Red Wings had a good chance to make the playoffs last year and, optimistically, it takes time. Once you get there, it’s worth it in the end. You just have to get better and better every year and eventually that opportunity will come.”

The Blackhawks are banking on Tyler Bertuzzi being one of the reasons that opportunity finally comes along. Whether it’s being the disruptor on the ice he’s known for, scoring one of his sleazy goals or helping the younger players develop, Foligno saw something in Bertuzzi that appealed to him and nudged him toward Chicago.

Now we’ll see how Bertuzzi helps steer the Blackhawks away from a rebuild.