At the start of a season all players, from pee-wee all the way up to the pros, are looking to improve themselves. Becoming better than the year before is essential for success, especially in the National Hockey League, where each and every offseason every team is adding new talent, working out harder and training to make themselves better.
In the case of Bruno Gervais, he did the exact opposite. I’m not quite sure what Paul Holmgren thought he was going to get when he signed the 28-year old defenseman who wasn’t good enough to be kept around by either the Islanders or the Lightning. Over his eight-year career, Gervais has never been anything but a negative on the score sheet.
Over his first seven years (not including last season with the Flyers) in the NHL, Gervais took part in 381 games, posting 15 goals and 66 assists for 81 points. The real telling stat is his plus/minus however; in those contests he had a rating of minus-64. If he was a point producer I could understand a bad plus/minus, but as he really is not, it’s hard to forgive such porous defensive play. In my eyes, defensemen are gauged by how well they shut down the other team, and frankly, Gervais just doesn’t cut it.
Picked up as a free agent from the Tampa Bay Lightning, the 6-foot-1, 200-pounder was paid $825,000 for this season’s body of work and still has one more year remaining on his contract.
With the Flyers, Gervais played 37 games and tallied one goal and five assists for a total of a whopping six points, but dragged behind him an unacceptable minus-17 rating. Yikes. This placed him last overall on the Flyers in plus/minus for the just completed season.
With constant injuries to the blue line, the Flyers did not have much choice but to play Gervais. He saw most of his minutes racked up with Braydon Coburn on the second pairing. As a sixth-round draft pick, Gervais is clearly not top four material. He may be able to keep up on a third-line pairing if they reduce his minutes, but other than that there is not much you can do with him. If he plays a third-pair role next season and is unsuccessful, it may be time to think about the American Hockey League, or hanging up the skates.