Thursday, June 30, 2011

Ehrhoff Signs Long-Term in Buffalo

The Buffalo Sabres are a much different team, financially, then they were only a year ago.  With new ownership, they have been able to flex some muscle and the free agent period hasn't even opened up officially yet.  On Thursday evening, the Sabres announced that they have signed unrestricted free agent-to-be defenseman Christian Ehrhoff, to a 10-year deal, reportedly worth $40 million, which doesn't need a genius to figure, a $4 million cap hit per season.  The deal itself is incredibly front-loaded, which likely made it very attractive.

Ehrhoff had a very impressive regular season with the Canucks, scoring 14 goals and 36 assists in 79 games with the Western Conference leaders, ranking 7th among all defensemen in scoring.

Ehrhoff was projected to be hitting cap hits of around $5 million per season, but the long-term structure and the amount paid up right away was obviously appealing to the German.

The Sabres are now looking to be among the elite teams in the Eastern Conference, with a signing like this, it can only make the rest of the offense that much better.

Thomas VanekChristian EhrhoffRyan Miller
Brad BoyesTyler Myers
Drew StaffordJordan Leopold
Jason PominvilleRobyn Regehr
Tyler EnnisShaone Morrisonn
Derek Roy
Nathan Gerbe
Paul Gaustad
Jochen Hecht
Patrick Kaleta
Ales Kotalik

Looking at the top four defensemen on this table, the Sabres now have an excellent blend of offensive, defensive and two-way defenders, which will make an incredible difference going forward.  The job in net may have just gotten a little bit easier for Ryan Miller.

Salary Cap
How does this all figure cap-wise?  The Sabres are quickly escalating their way to the top spenders of the NHL, now having 11 forwards, five defense and a goalie (plus a buyout) signed on for $57.3 million, which ranks 2nd among all teams in projected cap hits for the coming year.  The Sabres are never generally in last place every year, but they are definitely in the bottom-third, which makes this Summer more intriguing for the outsiders and very exciting for the Sabres faithful.

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