June 25, 2011

Bruno Gervais Traded to Lightning

While many were focused on the madness that was draft weekend, the Islanders made a separate transaction that marks the end of an era for one Islanders defenseman.

On Saturday the Islanders announced that they had dealt defenseman Bruno Gervais to the Tampa Bay Lightning in return for future considerations.

Those future considerations will likely be a late round draft pick in the 2012 draft.

The deal marks the end of a six year run for Gervais on Long Island, a roller coatser ride if there ever was one.

Photo by C. Hessel
Gervais was originally drafted in the 6th round back in 2003. While many players in the later rounds were long shots, after a couple of years it looked like the Islanders may have found a gem. After a solid rookie year in the AHL with eight goals and 30 points in 76, Gervais followed that up with 17 goals and 42 points in just 55 AHL games during the strike year of 2004 - 05 leaving many to wonder what he could do at the NHL level.

Gervais showed flashes, most recently near the end of 2008 - 09 after being paired with Mark Streit. The strong play is what made the Islanders keep him over Chris Campoli when it became abundantly clear that they were very similar players, as Campoli began to show signs of regressing. Unfortunately, Gervais would be unable to keep that up for his remaining two seasons and became a depth defenseman on a team that already had plenty.

Seeing as the Islanders still do have all of that depth and not quite enough top-end blue liners, Gervais became the first casualty of a potential house cleaning on the back-end.

Current Lightning Assistant Coach Dan Lacroix seems to have successfully sold Head Coach Guy Boucher and General Manager Steve Yzerman on the idea of bringing in yet another recent ex-Islander player, of which they are three-for-three so far (Dwayne Roloson, Nate Thompson and Sean Bergenheim). Gervais is due to become an RFA on Friday but I'm assuming Tampa plans on him staying for a year.

Personal Note: Bruno Gervais was one of the first Islanders Sean and I interviewed following one of the opening days of training camp, our first in the Blog Box. We walked into the locker room with one of the other bloggers, and Bruno immediately looked in my direction. After introductions were out of the way, he looked back at me and said "Please don't tell me you're cold!" On the way out he requested that I bring a jacket next time.

It's no secret that Bruno was a great guy off the ice, and that part will surely be missed on the Island. We can take solace in the fact that there have been other players who have had the chance to see that side of him for the past few seasons and will undoubtedly pick up where he left off.

Best of luck to Bruno as he opens up the next chapter of his career.



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