The Buffalo Sabres shocked the hockey world on Sunday by buying out top defenseman Christian Ehrhoff. Ehrhoff had 7 years remaining on his monstrous 10 year 40 million dollar contract, which contained a 4 million dollar cap hit.
The 31 year old German born Dman, is coming off a solid season, where he recorded 33 in 79 games, on the league’s worst team. Ehrhoff led all Sabres in average ice time per game, and was a weapon on both sides of special teams. He has one of the hardest shots in the league and is an elite puck moving defenseman.
Prior to signing with the Sabres, Ehrhoff had back to back 14 goal seasons with the Vancouver Canucks. Unfortunately for the Sabres, Ehrhoff was never able to produce those kinds of numbers, as he only recorded a combined 16 goals in three seasons with the blue and gold.
The buyout of Ehrhoff means that the trio the Sabres brought in during the summer of 2011 are all gone. The Sabres traded for Robyn Regehr, and gave both Ehrhoff and Ville Leino monster deals, which in the end turned out to bite them in the back. Owner Terry Pegula gave GM of the time Darcy Regier all the money he needed to build a winner. It is truly a shame that this was the best Regier could’ve done.
The Buffalo Sabres currently have two defenseman on their roster with more than a full season under their belt, that being Tyler Meyers and Mike Weber. Although the Sabres have Mark Pysyk, Rasmus Ristolainen, Nikita Zadorov, and Jake McCabe in the system, they will most likely have to spend some money on a free agent Dman or two, to get some veteran leadership and to get to the cap floor, or resort to making a trade or two.
The next few days will be very interesting for the Sabres, as their work is just getting started.