Nine years ago the New York Islanders dodged a bullet when Christian Ehrhoff said no.
In 2011, the New York Islanders took a stab at signing what seemed to be a top-end defenseman just before he hit the free-agent market. But turns out he didn’t want to play for the Isles. That defenseman was Christan Ehrhoff.
The Islanders acquired Ehrhoff’s rights from the Vancouver Canucks on June 28, 2011, for a fourth-round pick at the 2012 NHL Draft. With 50 points in 2010-11, Ehrhoff was seen as that top pair defenseman that could chew up big minutes against the league top forwards and quarterback the power play.
Remember, the Isles 2010-11 blue line was lead by Andrew MacDonald and James Wisniewski. Both played an average of 23+ minutes a night. The Isles were also the third-worst defensive unit in the East with 255 goals against in 10-11. They needed help.
And the Isles thought Ehrhoff could be that guy.
But less than 24 hours later, the Isles traded Ehrhoff’s rights to the Buffalo Sabres for a 2012 fourth-round pick. The Isles and Ehrhoff just couldn’t work out a deal that suited both sides.
"“We made a significant offer,” Snow said. “I don’t want to get into specific numbers, but I felt like we made a good offer and a good run to get Christian to sign.”"
It’s rumored that the offer the Isles gave Ehrhoff was much more than the $23 million deal that former teammate Kevin Bieksa signed with the Vancouver Canucks on June 27, 2011. Which makes sense when you consider what Ehrhoff received from Buffalo.
Flush with cash from the Pegula’s recent acquisition of the Sabres, the ‘Swords’ were flush with cash. And they used it. They signed the German defenseman to a massive ten-year $40 million deal.
A deal they would regret soon.
Ehrhoff never hit the same heights he did with the Canucks in 2010-11. His best season after signing that massive deal was a 33 point campaign in 2013-14. That was his last year with the Sabres. The Sabres would buy out his contract at the end of the season with a compliance buyout.
Technically, Ehrhoff is still on Buffalo’s books but because of the compliance buyout, it doesn’t hit the cap. The Sabres are on the hook for $857,143 until 2027-28.
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The New York Islanders dodged a bullet with Christian Ehrhoff. The German wanted a massif payday and thankfully said no to the Isles. Could you imagine if they still had that deal to work out? Remember Ehrhoff signed a ten-year deal in 2011, meaning it only expires in 2020-21.