Islanders Grades: Bruno Gervais, #8 man out?

This is totally not crosschecking. Why do you ask?

He's been here so long, it feels odd that Bruno Gervais is not yet an unrestricted free agent. But sure enough, according to CapGeek he's one NHL season and one human birth year short of acquiring that CBA-triggered status, so the Islanders can retain his rights with a qualifying offer of roughly $778,000 (minimum 5% raise) on a one-way deal.

Even though you don't have your hands on the Islanders' budget, that latter requirement may be what keeps some of you from thinking such an offer should be considered. Gervais, who was scratched when bodies were healthy last season and even briefly trotted out at fourth-line wing, is probably at best a depth defenseman. If no qualifying offer is extended, the 26-year-old reaches UFA status after all. A crowded Islanders blueline* suggests that might happen.

*when healthy, the universal caveat**

**and certainly, with Mike Mottau, Mark Eaton, Andrew MacDonald and Mark Streit returning from surgeries, this caveat is as universal as ever

 

When in Keep It Simple mode Gervais has had his finer moments paired next to Mark Streit. And to be fair, last year his weakest moments came when he was playing his off side as injuries sent the Islanders defense into disarray.

But the bottom line is the Islanders are deep in existing NHL contracts on the blueline: Five one-ways (injury caveat times three) plus NHL-experienced Travis Hamonic and Mark Katic on two-way deals, plus rookie pros like Calvin de Haan and Matt Donovan pushing from below. Add to that Jack Hillen, who is objectively better than Gervais, and Ty Wishart -- who signs point to being better -- are also RFAs.

This doesn't automatically eliminate Gervais (if the Isles wanted to carry eight defenseman, they theoretically have room for that while calling up two-way injury replacements as needed). But it sure doesn't leave much wiggle room nor the opportunity to sign a UFA upgrade if desired.


GP G A P +/- PIM TOI PKtoi Hits CorsiREL SOG
2010-11 - Bruno Gervais 53 0 6 6 -14 30 15:40 1:25 40 4th/6 (-5.7)
43

In competition terms, Gervais was sheltered along with his partners, who amounted to quite the buffet:

20.82% EV 8 GERVAIS,BRUNO - 42 REESE,DYLAN
18.92% EV 8 GERVAIS,BRUNO - 24 MARTINEK,RADEK
17.9% EV 8 GERVAIS,BRUNO - 38 HILLEN,JACK
9.31% EV 8 GERVAIS,BRUNO - 27 JURCINA,MILAN
6.79% EV 8 GERVAIS,BRUNO - 47 MACDONALD,ANDREW
5.16% EV 8 GERVAIS,BRUNO - 71 KATIC,MARK
3.34% EV 4 EATON,MARK - 8 GERVAIS,BRUNO
2.4% EV 8 GERVAIS,BRUNO - 10 MOTTAU,MIKE

When I see that buffet of partners I see the issue: Gervais is not a "carry your partner" kind of defenseman. He's a guy who can excel when given a specific role next to a lead guy. The problem is the Islanders have several complementary blueliners like him and not enough "carry your partner" guys. And those other complementary guys are already signed to contracts.

The Fight

Bruno doesn't fight often, and with good reason. But three "ol' time hockey code" cheers to the man for sticking up for P.A. Parenteau after Colin White checked him from behind. It didn't end well -- it did end quickly -- and Gervais would miss time after contracting Islanders Face before donning a full cage, but all credit to him for the effort.


The Grade

To be fair, that list of partners does reflect how Gervais played with everybody last season. Given the circumstances, how do you think he did? In the parlance of our player report cards, how well did he measure up to the expectations you had for him going into the season?

Vote accordingly in the poll below.

 

The Poem

An LHH report card tradition that knows no reason, nor rhyme.

June is the cruelest month, watching
RFAs sign five-year deals, waiting
For an agent to return calls, cooking
To spice the gloom of spring rain.

Winter kept us employed, playing
Hockey when health allowed, replacing
Teammates who'd gone down, suffering
Islanders Face after Islanders Face.

Colin White surprised us, punching
With force like he meant it, atoning
For checking PAP from behind, paying
Debts to hockey's peculiar code.

After the torchlight red on sweaty faces
After the frosty silence in the Coliseum
After goals against, defeated embraces
Three hundred thirty-one games -- is this the end?

Shantih shantih shantih

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