Penguins Wisely Decide To Table Talks With Christian Ehrhoff


Over the past offseason the Buffalo Sabres decided to buyout defenseman Christian Ehrhoff who was in the third year of a $40 million/10 year contract. Just a day after the buyout, the 32 year old German defenseman decided to sign a one year deal with the Pittsburgh Penguins. New GM Jim Rutherford has always liked and admired Christian Ehrhoff and during his time with the Carolina Hurricanes and actually tried to acquire Ehrhoff via trade at least once. With Buffalo still owing Christian Ehrhoff $18 million over 14 years, he decided to sign a team friendly $4 million dollar deal with Pittsburgh. 

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He has always been known as an offensive defenseman and his career season was in 2010-2011 with the Vancouver Canucks where he played in 79 games, posting 50 points (14 goals, 36 assists). In his three seasons with the Buffalo Sabres, Christian Ehrhoff’s numbers fell but were still quite respectable for a defenseman. During those seasons he averaged .45 points per game.

In his limited time in Pittsburgh, Christian Ehrhoff seems to have become a fan favorite because of his cannon shot. In 43 games Ehrhoff has managed 13 points (3 goals, 10 assists) while being a plus 9 skater and accumulating 26 penalty minutes. His shooting percentage (3.2%) also is the third lowest of his entire career while wearing the Penguins sweater.

It has been a well known fact the Rutherford had been trying to work on an extension with Christian Ehrhoff during this season. However, this morning it was reported that contract extensions for the 6’2″ 205 lb defender have been tabled until the summer.

Jan 7, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Christian Ehrhoff (10) carries the puck against the Boston Bruins during the second period at the CONSOL Energy Center. The Bruins won 3-2 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Not only is this a wise move for the Penguins, but it provides them more flexibility at the trade deadline. Rumors have been floating around that Rutherford is not done trading and Christian Ehrhoff is a valuable trade asset.

Frankly, from watching Ehrhoff’s play I think the Penguins could survive without him. Right now the Pittsburgh Penguins have a plethora of young puck moving defenders who excel in the offensive zone. Look at the current Penguins defenders on the roster: Robert Bortuzzo, Simon Despres, Christian Ehrhoff, Kris Letang, Paul Martin, Derrick Pouliot, Scott Harrington and Rob Scuderi. Of those eight defenders five of them all have offensive talent (Ehrhoff, Despres, Letang, Pouliot and Harrington).

I won’t go further into analyzing why the Penguins could trade Ehrhoff, because that is a story for another day. The tabling of the extension tells us is that Pittsburgh either is not ready to commit to Ehrhoff long term (as of now) or that he could be traded. Stay tuned for further updates.