Maple Leafs claim Gerber after placing Toskala on IR Staff

3/4/2009 8:59:05 PM

Martin Gerber's roller-coaster ride in the Nation's capital is over as the Toronto Maple Leafs have claimed the Swiss netminder off of waivers from the Ottawa Senators.

The move is likely insurance for the Leafs as they have shut down starting goaltender Vesa Toskala for the remainder of the season.  Toskala will undergo surgery on his ailing groin and will need at least four months of rehabillitation.  He made 49 saves during an overtime loss to New Jersey on Tuesday night.  Toskala was resigned to his fate.

"We've been knowing what's going on for a while," Toskala told reporters. "That's it, we made the decision together. We need to start healing as soon as possible because recovery might take quite a long time.

"This is best for me," said Toskala. "I'm going to get my surgery done next week. Obviously, I haven't been 100 percent."

The 34-year old Gerber will be joining his fourth NHL club. He began his career with the Anaheim Ducks, and also played for Carolina before signing as a free agent with the Senators prior to the 2006-07 season.

Gerber is best remembered for his stellar performance against Canada at the 2006 Torino Olympics. Playing for his native Switzerland, Gerber stopped 49 shots to beat Canada 2-0 in a preliminary round game. Four months later, Gerber was Carolina's back-up goalie when the Hurricanes won the Stanley Cup.

Recently, Gerber became the odd man out in Ottawa when the Senators decided on a goaltending tandem of Alex Auld and Brian Elliott. Gerber is earning $3.7 million this season, and will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

Toronto also added forward Erik Reitz off of waivers from the New York Rangers.  In 42 games split between the Rangers and the Minnesota Wild this season, the Detroit native has one goal and one assist.

In related moves, the club assigned forward Tim Stapleton and defenceman Jonas Frogren to Toronto of the AHL.