The Ehrhoff Signing: a Vancouver Perspective
“Don’t hassle the Ehrhoff.”
There’s your banner for the 300 level.
Fans in Buffalo were pleased and shocked when the Sabres traded for the rights to negotiate with and then signed Christian Ehrhoff – pleased because a player of his caliber decided to come to Buffalo, and shocked because a player of his caliber decided to come to Buffalo. He didn’t come cheap. From the Vancouver Sun:
Ehrhoff, 28, was seeking a huge raise on the $3.1 million he made in 2010-11 and Vancouver Canucks GM Gillis apparently couldn’t entice the German to accept Kevin Bieksa-type money of $4.6 million per season.
Ehrhoff was a mainstay on the Canucks’ No. 1 power-play unit and collected 50 points last season. He had 42 points in 2009-10, his first with Vancouver.
“Playing on this team is more important than individual compensation and that’s our expectation with everybody,” Gillis continued. “It will work with some and it may not work with others. If he [Ehrhoff] is unwilling to accept what we think is fair and allows us to be competitive, then we’ll move in a different direction.”
A player with Ehrhoff’s puck-moving and power-play ability should command north of $5 million.
Ehrhoff was thusly dealt away to the New York Islanders, who then failing to sign him, dealt him to Buffalo, where we now scoff at phrases such as “Bieksa-type money,” and even the surly Golisano-esque “Playing on this team is more important than individual compensation.”
In Buffalo, “should commend north of $5 million” translated into $10 million for Ehrhoff, along with a $8 million signing bonus, for the 2011-12 season. 2012-13 will award him $8 million, with another “signing bonus” $5 million. From there, he’ll make $4 million until the 2017-18 season, where he drops to $3 million, and then to $1 million through the 2018-19 to 2020-21 seasons. All told, that’s $53 million over ten seasons – but hey, if you do your “Pegula Math,” that averages out to $5.3 million per season, and with a cap hit of $4 million per.
Turns out, over the long, long, long run, the money is right where it should be. Right? How much can we really expect as a return on our dollar?
Here’s more from Vancouver, from the Sun’s Sports Blog, which at least touches on his past accomplishments:
Ehrhoff will be greatly missed for his dynamic offense. While the German-born defender wasn’t much of a shutdown guy, his mobility, offensive awareness, and his shot made him a threat to score from just about anywhere. Seriously, anywhere. Ehrhoff has a tendency to put himself out of position on occasional forays into the untold depths of the O-zone, but he also has a tendency to score beautiful goals from those same spots (and don’t you worry: all these clips have happy endings).
Ladies and gentlemen: let every goal Christian Ehrhoff scored last season be his swansong.
Bang on the link above, to check out video of all of Ehrhoff’s goals from last season (though it may take you a little while to watch all 14 of them).
We’ll close with some quips from “Lighthouse Hockey,” who brings some perspective from Ehrhoff’s home in Long Island for all of 20 hours (and also adds some more insight into the Sabres current cap crisis):
Ten years, huh? TEN years for a defenseman! Here that team goes again. They never learned from that Alexei Yashin deal and they never learned from that Rick DiPietro deal.
‘Cause here those crazy Islanders go again, with a 10-year contract — to a non-star defenseman, no less. And they’re paying him EIGHTEEN MILLION in just the first two seasons alone.
Now granted, it tails off in the final four years to lessen the cap hit and dance around the salary cap (which all NHL teams should do, if they are in the blessed club that can get away with it).
Wait … what’s that, you say? …
You say the contract are actually between the Buffalo Sabres and Christian Ehrhoff…?
Fantastic deal then. What moves! Such guts and commitment to winning! You can tell this franchise really cares!
Boy, they’re really doing some great things in Buffalo, what with adding Ville Leino for six years at $4.5 million per to a collection that already includes Tomas Vanek for an eternity at over $7 million annually, and Jason Pominville at $5.3 million annually with a no-trade clause(!), to go with $6.25 million for the star goalie, and the $4 million still left on the contract for that 17-goal scorer who scored 40 goals that one time, long before they spent a draft pick to add him.
Now that is what I call putting your money where your mouth is, in all the right pl… well in some places, anyway.
Why, that franchise is so committed to winning, they even brought back Ales Kotalik and his $3 million salary — never mind that he hasn’t performed like an NHLer in three seasons and has been rejected by every team from Alberta to Manhattan. It’s just great to see such commitment and dedication in Buffalo.
Money, money, money. All the dollar bills in the world won’t make a lick of difference if these signings help bring a Stanley Cup to Buffalo. And that’s where most of the criticism tails off.
Yes, the Sabres have over-paid on contracts, but that is not unusual for NHL teams in this age that are aiming to be more than just competitive. The Sabres “only reason for existence is to win a Stanley Cup,” as every Sabres fan knows very well by now. Let Regier toss his Pegula Bucks around. Let the green fall where it may.
And let Lord Stanley fall right in our laps.
That’s the only thing that matters to us now.
next post: Bisons to Give Away Aud Replicas this Weekend