2006-07: Robert Bortuzzo’s offensive game is still in its infancy, as he only accounted for 14 points in 63 games. Bortuzzo was chosen in the third round, 78th overall, of the 2007 NHL Draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins.
2007-08: The tall defenseman finished third among defensemen in scoring on his team with 3 goals and 15 assists in 52 games, helping them win the Hamilton Spectator Trophy, the award given to the OHL team with the best record. Bortuzzo also contributed 8 assists during his teams’ 18 game playoff run which ended in a loss final game of the Memorial Cup to the Spokane Chiefs.
2008-09: Bortuzzo missed all but 23 games in the 2008-09 season because of surgery he had to repair a nagging rotator cuff injury. In his few appearances he managed 1 goal and 16 assists while seeing time in all situations.
2009-10: In his first professional season, Bortuzzo managed 2 goals, 10 assists, and 109 penalty minutes including 9 fighting majors. He also managed a plus-13. He also showed no ill effects of the surgery from the previous season, appearing in 75 games with the Penguins AHL affiliate.
2010-11: In his second season with the Penguins AHL affiliate, Bortuzzo managed 4 goals, 22 assists, and 111 penalty minutes that included 6 fighting majors. He also managed a plus-28 which was not only among the best on the team but among the best in the AHL.
2011-12: Bortuzzo made his NHL debut with the Penguins on November 5th in a game against the Kings and returned to Pittsburgh at the end of November for another five-game stint. In six games with the Penguins he was plus-one with no points and 2 penalty minutes; averaging just under 11 minute of ice time per game. He spent most of his third pro season with Pittsburgh AHL affiliate Wilkes-Barre/Scranton; skating in 51 games. He scored 3 goals with 9 assists and was plus-nine with 61 penalty minutes. The Penguins reached the second round of the AHL playoffs after finishing second to Norfolk in the East Division. Bortuzzo was plus-1 with 1 assist and 13 penalty minutes in 12 playoff games.
Bortuzzo is the type of defenseman who is good at everything but not great at any one thing. His vision, passing, and shot are all serviceable at NHL level, though he'll never be mistaken for an offensively dynamic defenseman. Likewise, his size, skating, and stick-work are all NHL caliber but he lacks the hockey IQ and anticipation to ever be a top-flight shutdown defenseman. Furthermore, he has proved more than willing to drop the gloves to fight, and has done so on many occasions, though he will never be considered a heavy weight fighter. One thing that Bortuzzo possesses that most players don't however is warrior mentality and a willingness to do anything to help his team and improve.
Bortuzzo was dealt by the Pittsburgh Penguins along with a draft pick to the St. Louis Blues in exchange for Ian Cole.