Christian Ehrhoff is conducting a fact-finding expedition today in Germany, trying to learn all he can about Buffalo and the Sabres, General Manager Darcy Regier said.
Ehrhoff, one of the premier defensemen set to enter Friday's free agent market, has contacted former teammates with ties to the Sabres to learn more about Buffalo, which acquired his rights via trade Wednesday night.
"So far, it’s been positive," Regier said in HSBC Arena. "He has initiated his own discovery on Buffalo. He has played with some players, he’s contacted a couple of former teammates, Mike Grier ... he’s played with some other guys, Jochen [Hecht] as well in international arena. He’s doing that work, and his wife is involved with him. Kim and Terry [Pegula] are involved, Lindy [Ruff] and myself. So far it's been positive."
Former San Jose teammate Craig Rivet said in a text to The News he has not been contacted by Ehrhoff.
The Sabres sent a fourth-round pick to the New York Islanders for the right to negotiate with Ehrhoff. Regier is hopeful the transaction leads to the signing of a player who turned down a contract with the Isles reportedly worth five years and more than $23 million.
"When we examined the prospects of going into the open market and competing with all the other teams, we decided that we would try and get a head start," Regier said. "It’s costly. A fourth-round pick is significant. It’s not something we’ve done in the past, but it’s an advantage that we plan on making pay off."
The Isles gave Ehrhoff a deadline to sign with them, but Regier said he has no plans to do so. If the Sabres fail to sign the former Vancouver defenseman by noon Friday, he is available to all 30 NHL teams.
"I’m not big on deadlines and drawing lines in the sand. We’ll work with him," Regier said. "He’s going to discuss the situation more with his wife, with his agent, and we will hear back at some point this afternoon."