On Tuesday, Christian Ehrhoff told the Vancouver Canucks $23 million over five years wasn’t enough. So the Canucks shipped his rights to the New York Islanders before he became a free agent tomorrow (July 1).
Ehrhoff reportedly turned down the Isles six-year offer of $33 million so they moved his rights on to Buffalo. And late this afternoon, the 28-year-old signed a 10-year, $40 million mega-deal with the Sabres. According to TSN reports, the contract is structured so that, with a massive signing bonus, Ehrhoff will receive 15 of the $40 million before the start of the deal’s second season. Over the course of the next decade, the contract will carry a $4 million per season hit toward the NHL salary cap.
Ehrhoff had a terrific regular season in Vancouver (his second with the Canucks after being acquired from San Jose in August 2009), but his play dropped off considerably in the playoffs.
After registering 14 goals and 50 points in the regular season—finishing in the top 10 among NHL defensemen in both categories—the 28-year-old German had just two goals in the playoffs and finished the post-season an NHL worst—13. He didn’t score after Game 3 of the second round against Nashville and went his final 14 games without a goal. As a result, the once-mighty Canucks power play suffered drastically as well particularly in the Stanley Cup final against Boston.
Ehrhoff is a good player on good teams and it appears the Sabres are ready to make a jump in the Eastern Conference. At last week’s NHL draft, they added veteran blueliner Robyn Regehr in a trade from Calgary and today signed Ehrhoff. Those two will join 6’7” Tyler Myers to form an effect top-three on defence in front of former Vezina trophy winner Ryan Miller. Ehrhoff and the Sabres will face the Canucks once next season on Saturday March 3 at Rogers Arena.