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Islanders trade Ehrhoff’s rights to Sabres
Question of the Day
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - Defenseman Christian Ehrhoff has a big surprise waiting for him when he wakes up at his home in Germany. Ehrhoff will learn he’s with his third team in two days after the Buffalo Sabres acquired the free agent-to-be’s rights Wednesday.
“He’s fast asleep. He doesn’t know,” Ehrhoff’s agent, Richard Curran, told The Associated Press. And that leaves Ehrhoff and the Sabres about 36 hours to negotiate a deal before the NHL’s free agency period opens Friday afternoon.
In the latest bold move made under new owner Terry Pegula, the Sabres acquired the rights to the veteran defenseman from the New York Islanders for a fourth-round pick in the 2012 draft. The move was made a day after the Islanders gave up a fourth-round pick to acquire Ehrhoff’s rights from Vancouver.
While the Islanders were unable to entice Ehrhoff with a contract, the Sabres are gambling they can get a deal done with Pegula now in control. Since purchasing the Sabres in February, the Pennsylvania billionaire has made it no secret he is intent on opening his deep pocketbook _ and ready to spend to the newly established $64.3 million salary cap _ to build a winner.
The Sabres announced the trade, but otherwise declined comment.
Ehrhoff, a seven-year NHL veteran, had 14 goals, 36 assists and a plus-19 rating in 79 games for Vancouver last season. He had two goals and 10 assists in the Canucks’ run to the Stanley Cup finals, but was a minus-13.
Overall, the 28-year-old has 53 goals, 173 assists and 338 penalty minutes in 500 regular-season games with San Jose and Vancouver. He has seven goals and 27 assists in 73 playoff games.
Ehrhoff became eligible for free agency after completing his contract, which paid him about $3.4 million last season.
The Sabres were preparing to enter free agency with an eye on landing both a defenseman and forward to improve a Ryan Miller-led team that’s been eliminated in the first round of the playoffs in each of the past two seasons.
On Monday, Sabres general manager Darcy Regier said he has the green light to spend to the cap, while acknowledging this year’s free agent crop of elite players is small as compared to previous summers.
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