Without a doubt, Christian Erhoff would have been a great addition to the Isles blue line. He would have been a top 2 defenseman on the team, and his presence surely could have helped the power play quite a bit. I will readily admit that I had a fairly thrilled reaction when I had read that the Islanders had gotten the rights to Erhoff.
However, after he directly turned down an offer from the Isles, Snow traded his rights to Buffalo for a 4th round pick in 2012. I had read that it was something like a 6 million dollar offer as well. But, alas, like so many notable players, signing with the Islanders was not in the interest of Christian Erhoff.
Of course, Erhoff was free to choose to sign or not. That is the right of a free agent. It wasn’t the same situation as a certain goaltender who chose to sit in Russia even though he was contractually obligated to join the Isles when he was claimed off wavers last season. Erhoff can sign wherever he likes, and he can dictate the terms, as long, of course, if the interested team is willing to meet his price. That’s what free agency is all about, like it or not.
To be honest, though, Christian Erhoff would not have been a deciding piece to the puzzle to push the Isles over the top and enable them a definite spot among the 8 best teams in the Eastern Conference next season. Good as he might be, I would not consider him skilled or talented enough to be that kind of an impact player. In fact, in some ways, I have read in places that he might be quite overrated and will not get the kind of money he believes he commands from a “contenting” team. The only reason why he might be fortunate to end up getting something close to what he is asking is because there simply are not a lot of top 2 defensemen available on the market this time around.
In any event, it still personally “annoys” me to see yet another guy shy away from playing on the island. I guess I should be used to it, but I could not repress that twinge of anger that coursed through me and the wish that I could tell off Erhoff in his native tongue in no uncertain terms. However, it is what it is. It isn’t to say that he still could not come back to the table with the Islanders, yet, at this point, I wouldn’t bother with him.
So, Garth Snow is going to have to either sign or trade for those missing pieces to the puzzle. If anything, the Isles made another clear, strong statement by pursuing the rights to Erhoff, and it, at least, gives me a sense of hope that Snow and company will land someone who will make the team “better” next season or to compliment the core group that is now establishing itself. In the end, though, we will find out after Friday.
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