Maple Leafs claim goaltender Gerber on waivers; Toskala out for season

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TORONTO - The Toronto Maple Leafs' goaltending picture changed significantly on Wednesday.

The Leafs claimed veteran netminder Martin Gerber off re-entry waivers from Ottawa and announced that Vesa Toskala is done for the season.

Toskala, who hasn't lost in regulation since Jan. 19, will soon undergo hip and groin surgery. He made 49 saves during an overtime loss to New Jersey on Tuesday but nothing specific happened in that game to force him to shut it down for the year.

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

He expects the recovery period to last as long as four months.

Toskala has a 22-17-11 record in 53 appearances this season with a 3.26 goals-against average and .891 save percentage.

Gerber is 4-9-1 with a 2.86 GAA and .899 save percentage. He has spent the past couple months with Binghamton in the American Hockey League.

Gerber, who is making US$3.7 million this season, will become an unrestricted free agent July 1. The Leafs will pay half his salary for the remainder of the campaign.

The Maple Leafs also picked up defenceman Erik Reitz off waivers from the New York Rangers.

He has two points (one goal, one assist) and 65 penalty minutes in 42 games with the Rangers and Minnesota Wild this season.