Jul 5, 2012, 2:56 PM EDT
The Flyers signed a pair of free agents on Thursday, first reported by ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun. First, the club has agreed to terms with defenseman Bruno Gervais, as expected, on a two-year deal worth a total of $1.65 million. While no substitute for Matt Carle, Gervais adds depth along the blue line.
The Flyers are also bringing back a familiar face in Ruslan Fedotenko. The 33-year-old winger spent the last two seasons with the Rangers, and previously played for the Penguins, Islanders, and Lightning. Of course, he began his NHL career over a decade ago wearing the Orange and Black. Fedotenko signed for one season at $1.75 million.
Naturally Fedotenko — 6’1″, 200 — is more of a role player at this stage of his career. In 73 games last season, he posted career worsts in goals (9) and points (20), and while that was reflected by an all-time low average time on ice (13:36), he’s done more with similarly reduced totals.
Fedotenko has never been an explosive scorer though, but instead brings other qualities to the table, namely versatility and intangibles. He’s a two-way player who can man either wing, an experienced vet who twice hoisted the Stanley Cup. 30 points would be a bonus.
Feds won’t be taking over Jaromir Jagr’s vacated spot on the top line, but he gives the Flyers a stable presence in the bottom nine on the wing. Assuming the front office doesn’t have an ace up their sleeve, this could allow some the younger guys the opportunity to play higher line minutes.
And at least we know the quintessential Former Flyer Flyer Killer won’t be lighting the lamp in our own end this season.
Gervais — 6’1″, 200 — spent last season with the Lightning, and the previous six with the Islanders. He turns 28 in October, and adds a right-handed shot on the blue line. He’s seen his minutes cut in recent years, and he could face some competition for ice time while here.
It’s probably not pure happenstance Gervais wound up in Philly. He is good friends with Max Talbot, who will serve as a groomsman in Gervais’s wedding on July 14.
Overall, the good news here is that the Flyers didn’t overpay in years or dollars for either, though the second year for Gervais was a tad surprising. Based on the gravity of the moves made here, the team appears to be shifting gears toward filling in the blanks, rather than trying to make the next big splash. Still, don’t rule out a surprise can-opener over the weekend.
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