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Gerbe signs two-year, two-way contract with Blue Jackets

Forward could have been unrestricted free agent July 1 @NHLdotcom

Nathan Gerbe signed a two-year, two-way contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets on Sunday. Financial terms were not released.

The forward could have become an unrestricted free agent July 1. He has eight points (three goals, five assists) in 16 NHL games this season since being recalled from Cleveland of the American Hockey League on Dec. 22.

"I enjoyed being here, I enjoyed being in the organization, whether Cleveland or Columbus," Gerbe said. "You're surrounded by real good people, which makes it fun to come to work, and for me, I'm just happy to be able to continue to play hockey. It's two more years I get to play, so I'm excited about that."

Gerbe has 146 points (61 goals, 85 assists) in 413 NHL games with the Buffalo Sabres, Carolina Hurricanes and Blue Jackets.

"Well he's contagious," Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said. "Just the way he carries himself, the way he is as a pro, a guy who's played this way in all the League. He's played with 100 different teams throughout his career, and he just plays with energy. And I think it's something, when we started getting banged up a little bit, it's something that glued us a little bit as far as how we have to play. So he's good for our National Hockey League players and good for our minor league players down in the American Hockey League.

"We're looking to be a simple team and a forechecking team. We want to make really good offensive plays when they're there, but a lot of today's game is just a little bit of a will, as far as willing yourself to wins, and he brings that. So we talk about how we want to play, what our identity is all the time. He's certainly part of that."

The Blue Jackets (27-16-9) are tied with the Philadelphia Flyers for the first wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference entering their game against the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre on Sunday (2 p.m. ET; SN1, SNE, SNO, TVAS, FS-O, NHL.TV). independent correspondent Sean Farrell contributed to this story

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