Gervais, 27, played the 2011-12 season with the Tampa Bay Lightning after a trade from the New York Islanders, where he played parts of five seasons. The Isles traded him to the Bolts for the always-vague "future considerations," which should tell you how valuable he was to the Isles.
Gervais is a strong puck mover, but he doesn't really use his 6'1, 200 pound frame all that effectively, probably the biggest knock on his game. He's good friends with Max Talbot, and that's all wonderful and everything, but he's really not all that great at hockey.
He was a bottom pairing defenseman for the Lightning last year, playing on a one-year contract worth the league minimum, $525,000. We'd expect this deal with the Flyers to be near that same figure.
This signing isn't a replacement for Matt Carle or anything here, so don't read much into it from that regard. But it is a little curious from the we-already-have-Andreas-Lilja-in-this-role perspective. Or Marc-Andre Bourdon. Or Danny Syvret. Or any other number of depth guys in the organization. Lilja can't go anywhere -- his 35-plus deal means he counts against the cap regardless of the situation -- so it really is a bit of a head scratcher here.