Sabres sign Ehrhoff for 10 years, $40 million.

Jul 1, 2011 Featured

He has scored 28 goals in the last two years and generated 90 points. Seems like a pretty good offensive defenseman. He helped guide the Vancouver Canucks to an appearance in the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals. What was supposed to become a free agent, his rights were traded to the New York Islanders and then later to the Buffalo Sabres. He is Christian Ehrhoff, the newest Sabre, who has signed a contract for 10 years, $40 million.

Wait, what? Yes, your eyes do not deceive you. He was highly coveted in this year’s free agent market but yet another frontload contract? Ehrhoff is good on the offense but critics proclaim that he won’t have the same help in Buffalo as he did in Vancouver and I would have to agree. Ehrhoff has also been criticized for his defensive play as well.

Look at people like Shea Weber of the Nashville Predators, a restricted free agent, he’ll probably stay in Nashville most likely as I can see them matching an offer sheet. He is terrific at scoring goals but yet he was also an All Star, is younger and was a finalist for the Norris Trophy in 2011 for best defenseman.

There is also Mike Green of the Washington Capitals, who in 2009 was the first defenseman to score 30 goals in a season since 1993. It may help that he had Alexander Ovechkin with him. His offensive numbers weren’t as good as they were the last two seasons but I can still see him as an upgradeover Ehrhoff.

Bob McKenzie is an analyst for TSN, Canada’s equivalent of ESPN. He posted on his twitter the details of the signing:

“@TSNBobMcKenzie

Ehrhoff deal breakdown: 10 Years // $40 Million:

Year 1: $8M signing bonus, $2M salary;
Year 2: $5M SB, $3M sal. That’s $18M in 1st 2 yrs, or $15M before puck drops on 12-13 season.
Year 3: $4M; Year 4: $4M, Year 5: $4M; Year 6: $4M; Year 7: $3M; Year 8; $1M; Year 9: $1M, Year 10: $1M. Modified NTC. Cap hit=$4M/yr.”

. I was looking at the Canucks message boards and some fans are really upset that Ehrhoff was greedy. Hey, I tend to be upset when a good player leaves my team but the thing is this: who wouldn’t take this deal to make $10 million next year? I know for sure that I would.

Taken from TSN’s article about Ehrhoff: “My goal is to win the Stanley Cup,” Ehrhoff said in a statement released by the team. ”And after the offer I received from Buffalo, I believe this is the best place to make it happen.”

Mr. Ehrhoff, I know the Sabres make the playoffs- that’s what happens when you have Ryan Miller in net, but I don’t see the Sabres winning a cup anytime soon. I mean I could be wrong but that’s just me.

One can only think of the ridiculous long term contracts that did not pan out. Alexei Yashin was a 30-40 goal man during his tenure with the Ottawa Senators. In 2001 he signed a 10 year, $87.5 million deal with the Islanders. He was not the same player and he was gone in 2007. They also pulled this with goaltender Rick DiPietro in 2006 with a 15 year, $67.5 million contract. He has played in 39 games the last three seasons.

The New York Mets signed Bobby Bonilla to a 5 year, $29 million contract in 1992. He did hit a career high 34 home runs there and was a two time All Star but he had no Barry Bonds like he did in Pittsburgh. He was the controversy of many incidents and unlike with the Pirates, he had no top 3 MVP finish, which he accomplished twice while there.

Then there’s perhaps the most foolish of them all: despite averaging only 2.3 points, 2.9 rebounds and two blocks per game with the Washington Bullets, the Seattle Supersonics inked center Jim McIlvaine to a 7 year, $33.6 million contract. He was gone by 1998 and did not produce.

I think Christian Ehrhoff is a good offensive defenseman and will be serviceable to an improving Sabres team by acquiring fellow defenseman Robyn Regehr and reacquiring right winger Ales Kotalik. However 10 years is a big commitment and despite that Buffalo is still way under the cap, this much money for Christian Ehrhoff is complete lunacy. Let’s face it: almost all athletes these days are overpaid but many with hefty contracts are among the elite. Christian Ehrhoff is not an elite defenseman.