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2010 NHL free agency: Oilers sign goalie Martin Gerber

Aug 6, 2010, 5:54 PM EDT

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martingerber1.jpgTell us if you saw this one coming at all. Former Maple Leafs, Hurricanes and Senators goalie Martin Gerber is returning to North American after a year in the KHL to play with the Edmonton Oilers. Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos provides the details of the signing via Twitter.

Oilers sign Martin Gerber 1 year / 2-way contract. 500/200 guaranteed in minors. Oilers have him pegged as a 3/4 goalie in system.

A two-way contract at least alleviates the potential logjam the Oilers will face in goal as each of Nikolai Khabibulin, Devan Dubnyk and Jeff Deslauriers are all signed to one-way contracts. That’s not to say that at least Dubnyk and Deslauriers would face issues going through waivers should Gerber beat them out for a job in Edmonton, they likely wouldn’t get snagged by another team. At the very least, Edmonton’s AHL team in Oklahoma City will have a very capable goaltender there waiting to jump into the fire should Khabibulin end up in jail or if Deslauriers or Dubnyk run into problems.

Last we saw or heard from Martin Gerber was during the 2010 Winter Olympics as he played backup goalie to Jonas Hiller for Team Switzerland. He did start for Switzerland in the 2010 IIHF World Championships and won three games for the Swiss while posting solid numbers with a 1.41 goals against average and a .935 save percentage. In the KHL, Gerber played for Mytischi Atlant and held strong with a 2.19 goals against average and .914 save percentage.

Having been away from the NHL for a full year might help teams forget how he struggled in his last couple of years with the Maple Leafs and Senators and there’s no doubt there’s a comfort factor in Edmonton where former Swiss head coach Ralph Krueger now works as an assistant. Perhaps Gerber can rebound his career with the Oil.

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