Gerber goes on the block

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:03 AM ET

The Senators haven't wasted any time shopping goaltender Martin Gerber around.

Two league sources told the Sun yesterday Senators GM John Muckler has already started the process of trying to move Gerber and the two years and $7.4 million remaining ($3.7 million next year) on his contract.

If the Senators can dump Gerber, they can sign goalie Ray Emery to a long-term contract.

While it's not going to be easy for the Senators to make the trade, there are indications the Phoenix Coyotes and St. Louis Blues would be interested in Gerber, signed as an unrestricted free agent last summer. The Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lighting also need goaltending.

Gerber, who returned to Switzerland yesterday, wouldn't mind being dealt.

"I know (the Senators) were making those calls in February. I haven't spoken with them recently," said Gerber's agent Gilles Lupien yesterday.

"I know (Gerber) really likes the city. He kept telling me that about five times throughout the year.

"But he's not playing and when you're a goaltender, you want to play."

The Coyotes have only Mikael Tellqvist under contract for next year, while the Blues have Manny Legace and Curtis Sanford. The Senators would likely have to take a contract back in return if they're going to move Gerber.

Gerber, 32, didn't play much with the Senators, but he had a 15-9-3 record and a 2.78 goals-against average in 29 games.

'MADE A MISTAKE'

"My belief is Martin Gerber is a good goalie, he just probably made a mistake signing with the Senators," said an NHL executive. "What he had a tough time with was the pressure in Ottawa. That's not an easy place to play. It's a hockey market.

"The best bet for him might to be to go to a place like Phoenix where there's not a whole lot of focus on the team and all he has to do is worry about stopping the puck. I believe he lost his job in Ottawa because the pressure simply became too much."

Getting Gerber's money off the books is a factor in what happens to Emery, a restricted free agent. The 24-year-old played a key role in the run to the Stanley Cup final and can expect to triple his salary from the $925,000 he made last season. Carolina's Cam Ward signed a three-year, $8-million deal and Emery is going to be in that range.

J.P. Barry, Emery's Calgary-based agent, had a discussion with the Senators Monday to touch base and talk about what direction the discussions are going to take with Emery. He has rights to arbitration, but doesn't have to decide until July 15 whether he's going to exercise them.


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