Nathan Gerbe

Sabres sign Nathan Gerbe to three-year, $4.3 million contract and avoid arbitration


Terry Pegula and his fun ways are working their way out once again in Buffalo. This time they work out in favor of impending restricted free agent Nathan Gerbe.

Gerbe signed a three-year, $4.3 million deal with Buffalo today to avoid salary arbitration with the club.  Gerbe became one of Buffalo’s more useful depth players last year as he developed a style that saw him find ways to get to the net and irritate opponents with his won’t-stop-doing-stuff way about him.

Last season, Gerbe got his first chance to break through with the Sabres and did so in a big way despite his diminutive stature. In 64 games, Gerbe scored 16 goals and added 15 assists while mainly playing on Buffalo’s third or fourth lines. For the former Boston College standout, Gerbe’s had to fight his way into the NHL but after his performance last season and now a very rewarding extension, it’s safe to say he’s carved out his place on Buffalo’s roster from here on out.

The signing by GM Darcy Regier with owner Terry Pegula’s blessing is also yet another sign that Buffalo will do what it takes to take care of their own guys and make the necessary moves to win. In the past it’s likely that a player in Gerbe’s position would’ve gone through arbitration and had his contract figured out from there. You might recall the song and dance Tim Kennedy went through with the Sabres that ultimately saw him get bought out after winning his hearing.

Things are different in Buffalo now and it’s got Sabres fans hoping that Pegulamania will bring them one really big gift this free agent season in the form of Brad Richards. We’ll find out soon enough if Pegula is just that good to convince him and is that willing to break the bank to make it happen.

Kassian suspended without pay, placed in Stage 2 of Substance Abuse Program

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Zack Kassian may have avoided major injuries stemming from his Sunday car accident, but it likely sent the signal that he may need help.

The response: he was placed in Stage Two of the Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program (SABH) of the NHL and NHLPA on Monday.

According to the league’s release, Kassian “will be suspended without pay until cleared for on-ice competition by the program administrators.”

Speaking of being suspended without pay, here’s a key detail:

The 24-year-old ended up with a broken nose and broken foot from that accident. The 2015-16 season was set to be his first campaign in the Montreal Canadiens organization after a tumultuous time with the Vancouver Canucks.

Kassian spoke of becoming more mature heading to Montreal, but the Canadiens were critical of his actions, wondering how many wake-up calls someone can get.

In case you’re wondering about the difference between stage one and two:

Add Lecavalier to list of expensive Flyers healthy scratches

Vincent Lecavalier

Are the Philadelphia Flyers aiming for some sort of record when it comes to expensive (potential) healthy scratches?

While lineups are obviously subject to change, notes that Vincent Lecavalier appears to be among a rather rich group of Flyers who are expected to sit during their season-opener.

Also likely to be in street clothes: Sam Gagner and Luke Schenn.

That’s $11.3 million in cap space rotting on the bench.

“I really don’t know what to say,” Lecavalier said. “I’ll practice hard and be ready when they call me up.”

The quotes from Lecavalier, Gagner and Schenn only get sadder from there, a reminder that there are human beings attached to these numbers – whether you focus on disappointing stats or bloated salaries.

Flyers fans with the urge to reach for an Alka-Setzler can at least take some comfort in knowing that the team will see $6.8 million in savings after this season, as both Gagner and Schenn are on expiring deals.

It could be a long season, though, and this Lecavalier headache may not truly end until his contract expires following the 2017-18 campaign.