Sunday, August 23, 2015

Kings Blueline Adds Ehrhoff

The unrestricted free agent season is dwindling, as we slowly roll towards training camps in the NHL. The Los Angeles Kings dropped in on the festivities on Sunday, signing defenseman Christian Ehrhoff to a new 1-year, $1.5 million deal.

The 33-year old German defender is coming off a rough 2015 season, where he battled concussion problems during his time with the Pittsburgh Penguins.  He only managed to play in 49 games with the Penguins, scoring 3 goals and 14 points, ranking 124th among all defensemen in scoring.

The offensive-minded defender had some pretty high expectations placed upon him, when he joined Pittsburgh last year, but his health issues curbed a lot of those expectations and with the Penguins already dealing with one injury-prone defender in Kristopher Letang, I don't think the team was prepared to take another chance with him in the 2016 season.

The Los Angeles Kings, who have plenty of questions about their defensive depth in the coming season, are an interesting fit for Ehrhoff, since he isn't known as a grinding defender in the league, rather a good puck mover.  He'll be able to eat some minutes, provide another skating option for the coaching staff and another power play weapon, other than Drew Doughty.

The big questions will be about how healthy he is perceived to be and how much of an effect did his concussions have on his game.  If he is back to being 100% again, he has some potential to be a very good hockey pool option, but given his new history of concussion problems, I wouldn't be too keen on picking him up, personally, without acknowledging the risk.  Right now, I would put him in the 35-point range for points, taking a little off from where he once was.

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