The Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday signed forward Ruslan Fedotenko and defenseman Bruno Gervais. Terms of the deals were not released, but ESPN.com is reporting Gervais' deal is for two years at $825,000 per season, while Fedotenko will make $1.75 million on a one-year deal.
Fedotenko, 33, returns to the team he started his NHL career with as an undrafted free agent in 2000-01. He had nine goals and 11 assists in 73 regular-season games with the New York Rangers last season, and two goals and five assists in 20 playoff games.
"I think the opportunity to add Ruslan, and his ability to play a lot of different roles on a team … he can play any wing, he can probably play center if you need," Flyers GM Paul Holmgren said. "The fact that he's won a couple times, the fact that he’s been here before, both played into the decision to move forward with him. We’ve actually tried to sign Ruslan a couple times over the last few years and we’ve always missed out. I like him, and I think he's going to bring a lot to our team in terms of leadership, and I think he's a winner. I really do."
In 816 NHL games with the Flyers, Lightning, Islanders, Penguins and Rangers, the left wing has 169 goals and 184 assists. He also has a pair of Stanley Cup rings, with the 2004 Lightning and 2009 Penguins.
"I'm really excited," Fedotenko said. "I started my career there and I have great memories there. I'm excited to have a good team and a great organization."
Fedotenko said he had other offers, but saw the Flyers as being the team that gave him the best chance of winning another Stanley Cup.
"I had quite a few [offers], but I felt like I wanted to go to a team where I believe we have a chance to win the Cup," he said. "My goal last year was to stay with the Rangers because I believed we had a really good chance to win the Cup … [and] that didn't work out last year. I still want to pick a team [that is] a really good contender for winning and I want to be a part of it."
Gervais, 27, had six goals and seven assists in 50 games with the Tampa Bay Lightning
last season. A 2003 sixth-round pick of the New York Islanders
, Gervais has 81 points in 381 NHL games with the Islanders and Lightning.
"I think he's going to fit nicely into our group," Holmgren said. "He's a right-hand shot, and that gives us two right-hand shots in Luke Schenn and Bruno, something we haven't had since I can't remember. Probably goes back to [the early 1980s] Bob Dailey and Mike Busniuk. Bruno's a good kid, he works hard, he's got over 350 games of experience in the League. I know he's bounced around a little bit, but he's an unassuming, quiet, good player that'll provide enthusiasm and experience, and I think he's a really good fit on our team."
Gervais also was endorsed by Flyers forward Maxime Talbot. The two have been friends since childhood, and Talbot will be a groomsman in Gervais' wedding July 19.
"Anytime you have players that know players, they can give you a little bit of an inside scoop on something about them that you don't know," Holmgren said. "But we've always liked Bruno, even back to his Islander days early on. He's just a quiet, steady player."
Gervais said it would be nice to play with Talbot, but it also will be nice to play for a winning organization. In seven NHL seasons, he's played in the postseason once.
"The main thing was for me that I want to win and I want to be part of a team heading that way," Gervais said. "Last year, I was really happy going to Tampa Bay. I did enjoy my year. It wasn't the year that we expected as a team. To make a little change right now, I'm really excited about that, and turning to a team with the quality of an organization like the Flyers, and such a great sports town -- I've been there a few times already, and love the town and love the way the organization is heading. I just want to help the team any way I can to go further in the playoffs and having a chance to win."
The moves restock a roster that has seen two top-nine forwards (Jaromir Jagr and James van Riemsdyk) and a top-four defenseman (Matt Carle) depart the team in the past two weeks, with only defenseman Luke Schenn coming in return.
Carle signed with the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday, despite Holmgren's long-standing belief that he would be able to keep the defenseman in Philadelphia.
"We tried very hard to sign Matt Carle," Holmgren said. "At the end of the day he decided to go elsewhere. I'm happy for Matt. I'll say that before free agency started, during free agency, right up to the time he decided to go elsewhere, we tried hard to sign Matt. It's just one of those things."
In Jagr's case, Holmgren admitted it was a timing factor, saying that with offers on the table to Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, Holmgren was hesitant to commit salary-cap space elsewhere. Holmgren said he learned July 3 that the Flyers were out of the running for Suter, and the next day they were out on Parise. By then, however, the Dallas Stars had gotten Jagr's attention.
"I don't know if he [Jagr] got antsy or what," Holmgren said. "I got a call late on the 3rd that he was getting excited and wanted to make a move, and I wasn't prepared to do anything at that time. We still had offers out on the table that I wanted to wait on, and I wasn't prepared to move on Jaromir at the time. … It just got to the point where I wasn't ready to move and he wasn't ready to wait."
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