It appears that the dance between free agent defenseman Christian Ehrhoff and the Columbus Blue Jackets may be coming to an end. Blue Jackets beat reporter Aaron Portzline reports that it “seems highly unlikely” that Ehrhoff will sign with Columbus, despite reports that offers had been placed on the table.
In the tweet, Portzline continues that the only scenario where he see Ehrhoff coming to a deal with Columbus is if it gets “well into September” and Ehrhoff takes a professional tryout with the team because of a lack of other offers being made.
The 33-year-old defenseman was bought out of a contract with the Sabres in the summer of 2014 that had him on contract through the 2020-21 season with an AAV of $4 million.
Follow the buyout, he signed a one-year deal with the Pittsburgh Penguins for $4 million, but had his season cut short by injury and didn’t appear in the playoffs for Pittsburgh. Through 49 games he posted three goals and 11 assists. His even strength P/60 of 0.8 isn’t a step down from previous production, which has hovered between 0.7 and 0.9 throughout his career.
However, last season was the first time he’s posted a negative relative Corsi with a -1.6% score-adjusted CF%Rel, though he was at 51.9% score-adjusted CF% total.
He can still offer a team a lot, particularly on the power play and teams with a younger defensive group, though he may have to take less money than expected. That seems particularly likely when you see the kind of discounted deals veterans are taking around the league right now, like Matt Cullen heading to Pittsburgh on a $800,000 contract after making $3.5 million last year.
Ehrhoff has played 814 career NHL games split between the San Jose Sharks, Vancouver Canucks, Sabres and Penguins.
Dustin Nelson writes about news and the Minnesota Wild for The Hockey Writers.