July 1 is the Black Friday of the hockey world, where teams line up in a frenzy to sign the newest crop of available free agents. This year’s pool isn’t as deep as it has been in previous years, where a lot of the Restricted Free Agents have signed tender offers with their current teams and will not be hitting the open market. One player whose rights have been traded multiple times this week before hitting the open market was defenseman Christian Ehrhoff.
His 10-year, $40 million deal is heavily front-loaded as Bob McKenzie from TSN reported Ehrhoff will receive a $2 million salary and $8 million signing bonus in Year 1; $3 million salary, $5 million signing bonus in Year 2; $4 million in Years 3, 4, 5, and 6; $3 million in Year 7; $1 million in Years 8, 9 and 10. The deal also features a modified no-trade clause.
Ehrhoff played this season for Vancouver, and was traded twice this week. First he was traded to New York Islanders Tuesday for a fourth-round pick in 2012. The following day, his rights was traded to Buffalo in exchange for a fourth-round pick. He was originally drafted by San Jose in 2001, and is a week away from turning 29. His career stats include 53 goals, 226 points, a plus-74 rating and 338 penalty minutes in 500 NHL games with the Sharks and Canucks. He also has 7 goals and 34 points in 73 postseason games, including 2 goals and 12 points this season with Vancouver.
He was ranked third by the Sporting News in their Top 25 Free Agents. The list of blue liners is thin to begin with, so it could benefit players such as Ed Jovanoski, Jonathan Ericsson, and Tomas Kaberle as teams will enter a bidding war with other clubs and could risk over-paying for someone.
Check the site later this evening for more news and happenings as NHL free agency begins.