Herzlich Willkommen bei Buffalo Christian Ehrhoff!

This is not a drill, I repeat, this is not a drill. The Sabres are a big player in the UFA market! Buffalo has come to terms with RD, Christian Ehrhoff who was a part of the Vancouver Canucks Stanley Cup Finals team. The contract is for 10 years and $40 million (Year 1: $8M SB, $2M salary; Year 2: $5M SB, $3M, Year 3: $4M; Year 4: $4M, Year 5: $4M; Year 6: $4M; Year 7: $3M; Year 8; $1M; Year 9: $1M, Year 10: $1M, and a modified NTC per Bob McKenzie of TSN ).

Ehrhoff put up 14 goals & 22 assists and was an asset on the power play for Vancouver. He also averaged 24 minutes of ice time/game last season, so this is a guy who can eat some minutes for you and he isn’t too shabby in his own end either. Sabres fans shouldn’t expect a physical guy though. Ehrhoff makes his living with his great mobility and heady play. Overall, I’d say this is a hell of a deal for the Sabres because they got a top defenseman for a $4 million cap hit and they can rid themselves of the contract rather easily based on the way it’s structured should Ehrhoff falter in the later years of the deal.

So what does this signing mean for the rest of the off-season? Well, for starters, I’m not expecting any more new acquisitions on defense. I’m already figuring that the Sabres will get Morrisonn and Kotalik’s cap hit off the books, but I would suspect that Andrej Sekera will be out the door now.  He will be looking at raise that should net cap hit of $2.0-$2.5 million and his skill-set is similar to Ehrhoff’s. The Sabres will probably plan on rolling with Gragnani and Weber as the 3rd pairing next year, which is fine by me.  As far as fitting Brad Richards in goes, I played around on CapGeek a bit and got this:

FORWARDS
Thomas Vanek ($7.142m) / Brad Richards ($7.000m) / Jason Pominville ($5.300m)
Tyler Ennis ($0.875m) / Derek Roy ($4.000m) / Drew Stafford ($4.000m)
Nathan Gerbe ($1.433m) / Jochen Hecht ($3.525m) / Brad Boyes ($4.000m)
Cody McCormick ($0.800m) / Paul Gaustad ($2.300m) / Patrick Kaleta ($0.907m)
/ Matt Ellis ($0.625m) 

DEFENSEMEN
Robyn Regehr ($4.020m) / Tyler Myers ($1.300m)
Jordan Leopold ($3.000m) / Christian Ehrhoff ($4.000m)
Marc-Andre Gragnani ($0.650m) / Mike Weber ($0.900m) 

GOALTENDERS
Ryan Miller ($6.250m) / Jhonas Enroth ($1.100m) 

BUYOUTS: Tim Kennedy ($0.166m)

CAPGEEK.COM TOTALS (follow @capgeek on Twitter)
(these totals are compiled without the bonus cushion)
SALARY CAP: $64,300,000; CAP PAYROLL: $63,295,357; BONUSES: $425,000
CAP SPACE (21-man roster): $1,004,643

As you can see by the amount of cap space that is left, I think fitting Richards is doable, but it will be tight. I don’t know who the 7th defenseman would be, but it wouldn’t cost that much to get one. If Richards doesn’t sign with us, I highly expect Sekera to be a key piece in a package to bring in another center. Free agency is upon us. We have about 15 hours to go until more mayhem begins. It’s feels great to finally be in the center of it for a change! Eat, drink, and be merry on July 1st everyone!

Update: Here’s a roster where I swapped out Boyes instead of Sekera:

CAPGEEK.COM CAP CALCULATOR

FORWARDS
Tyler Ennis ($0.875m) / Brad Richards ($7.800m) / Thomas Vanek ($7.142m)
Nathan Gerbe ($1.433m) / Derek Roy ($4.000m) / Drew Stafford ($4.000m)
Jochen Hecht ($3.525m) / Paul Gaustad ($2.300m) / Jason Pominville ($5.300m)
Cody McCormick ($0.800m) / Rob Niedermayer ($1.000m) / Patrick Kaleta ($0.907m)
/ Matt Ellis ($0.625m) 

DEFENSEMEN
Robyn Regehr ($4.020m) / Tyler Myers ($1.300m)
Jordan Leopold ($3.000m) / Christian Ehrhoff ($4.000m)
Mike Weber ($0.900m) / Andrej Sekera ($2.300m)
Marc-Andre Gragnani ($0.650m) 

GOALTENDERS
Ryan Miller ($6.250m) / Jhonas Enroth ($1.100m) 

BUYOUTS: Tim Kennedy ($0.166m)
CAPGEEK.COM TOTALS (follow @capgeek on Twitter)
(these totals are compiled without the bonus cushion)
SALARY CAP: $64,300,000; CAP PAYROLL: $63,395,357; BONUSES: $425,000
CAP SPACE (22-man roster): $904,643

I actually like this a little better. Nieds was pretty good as the season went on, so I don’t mind bringing him back in that role and the defense is much stronger by keeping Sekera in the fold.

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One Response to Herzlich Willkommen bei Buffalo Christian Ehrhoff!

  1. calvin says:

    good post! the defense looks formidable, and Miller should be feeling very confident.

    i see Darcy using both Sekera and Boyes as pieces of the puzzle to bring in a center via trade if Richards doesn’t happen.

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