Days after being bought out by the Buffalo Sabres, defenseman Christian Ehrhoff has signed a 1 year, $4M deal with the Pittsburgh Penguins as the first big name signed in this year’s free agent period.
Ehrhoff signed a big deal in Buffalo for 10 years and a front-loaded $40M in 2011, and played just 3 years of the contract before the Sabres decided to cut ties by using their second an final compliance buyout so he doesn’t count against the Sabres cap going forward. He will play for the same cap hit in Pittsburgh as he made in Buffalo.
The Penguins are poised to possibly lose both Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen and they need a puck mover before the maturation of the likes of Derek Pouliot and Scott Harrington take over the Pens blue line. Ehrhoff might have been expected to sign over a longer term, but he opted of the 1 year deal with a chance to win and possibly play with fellow countryman and good friend Marcel Goc.
Ehrhoff had 11 goals and 55 points in 126 games with the Sabres, is good on the power play and solid in his own end but could never live up to the contract that had already paid him $22M of the $40M in the first 3 years.