TRAVERSE CITY — The Detroit Red Wings’ selections of Anthony Mantha and Tyler Bertuzzi may not have been the most popular in NHL scouting circles.
But the Red Wings and general manager Ken Holland have been known to make other scouts look bad on a regular basis.
Regardless, the team seems pleased with both, as well as second-rounder Zach Nastasiuk. The trio of wingers each bring something different, although the picks of Mantha and Bertuzzi came with some criticism — fair or not.
One scout ripped Mantha in his evaluation, saying the high-scoring 6-foot-4 right wing lacks passion. And some were shocked when the Wings selected Bertuzzi — the nephew of current Red Wing forward Todd Bertuzzi — in the late second round with a pick they acquired by trading back in the first. Some scouts had Bertuzzi ranked as low at No. 207 among North American skaters, and he was selected at No. 58, 10 spots behind Nastasiuk.
Both the Wings and the players aim to silence critics. And both made their first case Wednesday as the Red Wings Development camp opened up in Traverse City.
Bertuzzi, especially, came out swinging.
The left wing — known as an agitator — gave up about 15 pounds when he took on defenseman Nick Jensen in a rare camp fight.
“It used to happen,” said Detroit director of player development Jiri Fisher. “We’re going to manage the situation going forward. It’s great to see guys who have a lot of passion. It escalated and was a pretty intense small-area game we play. Nobody got hurt, and now we’ll make sure it doesn’t become a trend every scrimmage.”
“It was part of the game,” said Bertuzzi, who had a scrape on his cheek. “We shook hands afterward. We’re good. We were doing a battle drill and I crosschecked him and he crosschecked me. Then we dropped the gloves and fought. I think it was kind of even.”