Gerber net gain for Sens

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 2:14 PM ET

The Canada Day fireworks finally went off in Ottawa last night.

After losing free-agent defencemen Zdeno Chara (Boston) and Brian Pothier (Washington), Senators GM John Muckler did some shopping of his own, signing free-agent goalie Martin Gerber and defenceman Joe Corvo.

Gerber, who lost his starting job to Cam Ward during the Hurricanes' run to a Stanley Cup title, was signed after more than 10 hours of negotiations.

Gerber inked a three-year, $11.1-million (all terms US) deal with the Senators, while Corvo secured a four-year, $10.5-million contract.

Gerber turned down a better offer from St. Louis and could have taken a similar deal from Detroit, but opted to sign with Ottawa because of the presence of coach Bryan Murray.

"The coach was the difference. Martin is a stand-up guy and he wanted to play for a winner," Gerber's agent, Gilles Lupien, said from Montreal. "He played for Bryan Murray in Anaheim; he knows what this guy can do and he has confidence in him. He's going to be good for Ottawa. This is a guy who is going to help them."

Senators scouts have liked Gerber for some time.

"We thought he was the best goalkeeper available," Muckler said in a conference call with reporters. "We feel like he can do a good job for us. He played well for Carolina last year and he stoned us the three times we played them.

"He carried that team all year (before getting sick in the playoffs). We think he can come in here and be strong for us."

The 'Canes, despite the emergence of Ward, were sorry to see Gerber go. The two made a good one-two combination.

"Obviously, when a goaltender comes in and gives you the confidence, he'll be there every night. He definitely won us a lot of games," said Carolina's budding star Eric Staal. "He had 38 wins. He's a great competitor. He competes every time he gets in the net and he was a huge part of our team. He got us home ice in the playoffs and it made a tremendous difference when it got down to the finals. We're going to miss him. He's a great goalie."

As for Corvo, he's no Chara, but after playing with the Kings, he's a guy who can move the puck.

"He's a right-handed shot and we can really use that kind of player," said Muckler. "He's got offensive upside and he's going to help us."

Muckler said he's not done.

The club is still trying to trade winger Martin Havlat, who is a restricted free agent, possibly for another forward.

The Senators could also make pitches to free-agent centres Doug Weight, Jason Arnott and Michael Peca.

"We've still got work to do," said Muckler.


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