The New York Islanders couldn't do much with the rights to defenseman Christian Ehrhoff so now it's the Sabres' turn.
In their first strike of free agency, the Sabres acquired the rights to the former Vancouver blueliner Wednesday night by sending a fourth-round pick in next year's draft to the Islanders after Garth Snow & Co. failed to sign him the last two days. Risking a pick just for the right to talk to a veteran is yet another bold step under the Terry Pegula watch that never would have happened under previous ownership.
Ehrhoff (6-2, 203) played on the Canucks' No. 1 power play unit and would be a huge addition to the Buffalo blueline. But he's almost certain to want a deal of at least $5 million a season. Maybe closer to $6 million. He will turn 29 next Wednesday.
Ehrhoff wrapped up a three-year, $9.3 million contract with the Canucks last season. He played with San Jose for six seasons before being traded to Vancouver in 2009. He reportedly turned down a five-year, $23 million offer to stay with Vancouver and rejected even more from the Islanders.
Ehrhoff will become an unrestricted free agent at noon Friday if the Sabres can't sign him. A three-time German Olympian who would be quite an attraction to that season-opening trip to Mannheim and Berlin, he had 14 goals, 36 assists and a plus-19 rating in 79 games for Vancouver last season.
Ehrhoff had two goals and 10 assists in the Canucks' run to the Stanley Cup final, but was a minus-13 in the postseason. He had just one assist and was minus-7 in the final against Boston.
taggedNHL free agency | Sabres