‘Canes sign ex-Sabres forward Gerbe: one year, $550,000

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The Carolina Hurricanes have made an interesting free agent pickup, signing former Buffalo forward Nathan Gerbe to a one-year, two-way deal worth $550,000.

“Nathan has had success on the NHL level and should compete for a job with the Hurricanes during training camp,” said ‘Canes VP of Hockey Operations Ron Francis.

Gerbe — who, at 5-foot-5, is the NHL’s shortest player — spent his entire five-year career in Buffalo before receiving a buyout (regular, not compliance) in early June.

The 25-year-old had struggled with health issues over the last few years. He began this season on injured reserve after undergoing back/neck surgery during the lockout and, when activated, failed to make much of an impact offensively, scoring just 5G-5A-10PTS in 42 games.

Gerbe’s best season came in 2010-11, when he scored a career-high 16 goals and 31 points, finishing fifth on the team in goals.

The former Boston College standout should have a decent shot of cracking the ‘Canes roster next season. Carolina currently has just 11 forwards under contract for next season though a 12th, first-round draft pick Elias Lindholm, has signed his entry-level deal and is expected to play at the NHL level right away.