Confirmed: Reto Berra Has Signed In Swiss League for 2017-18
Swiss NLA team HC-Fribourg Gotteron has confirmed that they have signed Florida Panthers goaltender Reto Berra to a three-year contract that will go through 2020. The contract includes an NHL out-clause, according to reports.
Rumors began swirling in February that the Swiss netminder had signed with either Gotteron or another Swiss club for five years. That was never confirmed and would have been a rather unusual move for a goaltender in the middle of an NHL season.
Berra was a fourth round draft pick for the St. Louis Blues in 2004 and has played 61 games in the AHL since 2013-14 with a .907 save percentage. He also has played 70 games in the NHL with the Calgary Flames, the Colorado Avalanche, and the Florida Panthers (.904 save percentage). This season with the Panthers, Berra has played in six games, all losses, with an .870 save percentage.
This disappointing season stands in contrast to the hopes held for Berra on his trade to Florida after two seasons with the Colorado Avalanche. At the time, Berra was seen as being on the cusp of breaking into the NHL full time, despite an injury sustained in December 2015 that kept him out of the lineup for some time. Colorado goaltending coach Francois Allaire told InGoal Magazine later that season,
“We were just at the point to find the real Reto Berra, but he got injured. Reto is a good athlete … he’s a guy that can play in the NHL now. He was a lot of diving (before) and last year he needed a year to settle down, work on the basics, work on the fundamentals of his game and this year he came back, he was really, really good. It’s too bad he got injured but at least we know now he can play and play at a really, really good level.”
Berra is currently on an expiring one-way contract worth $1.45 million annually and he will be a UFA in June. It is possible that he will still be picked up by an NHL club and, as his agent noted in October, “Let’s not forget about Las Vegas.” That is, frankly, a long shot at this point, as the Knights will have a number of options for the goaltending position.