The Buffalo Sabres bought out Christian Ehrhoff earlier today, and he immediately becomes one of the best available for free agency this summer. The Vollman Sledgehammer has some nice numbers and colors, and the German is in a good part of the graph. Should the Oilers pursue him?
Yes. All Day. If Christian Ehrhoff is open to being an Oiler, the club should go after him with extreme prejudice (great phrase) in an effort to get him to town. The depth chart might be:
Lordy. When was the last time the Oilers had that many defensemen with over 200 games in their backpocket entering the season? There’s actual experience there.
That said, I don’t think that’s going to happen. Ehrhoff is going to have a lot of choices, and it seems to me MacT is more interested in ‘bridge’ deals that buy time for Darnell Nurse, Martin Marincin and Oscar Klefbom to take on lead roles (and I know Marincin has one already).
The Oilers are in good trade position right now, as the cap crunch is going to be a major worry for the big spending teams. There are going to be deals in the next few days that see players of value dealt because their original team simply can’t afford to keep them with the new cap number.
Craig MacTavish: “We’re in a pretty enviable position to be able to take on some of those
contracts. Those are really the style of
deals that we’ve looked to make over the last little while where we
give up a few assets, take the contract and the cap space, so we’ll be
trying to do some of that.”
WHAT WOULD THAT LOOK LIKE?
Teams like Boston (Chris Kelly, Johnny Boychuk) and Chicago may need to make some room by trading a veteran player for a younger replacement. Example: Martin Marincin for Johnny Boychuk. I know, bad example. However, that’s the kind of move we might see here in the next little while.
- Jeff Petry: Unsigned, the Oilers can send him to another team for an expensive defenseman, and the acquiring team can fit a new deal into their reality.
- Martin Marincin: Less than a million, playing like he did last year? Even with the lack of experience someone may come calling with a rich offer.
- Mark Arcobello: Very inexpensive forward solution and a guy who showed well.
- David Perron: There was a trade this weekend (Pittsburgh dealing Neal) that might serve as a template for a deal involving Perron.
I’m not suggesting Edmonton goes that route, but if there’s enough value there they need to look at it. Trading Jeff Petry for a more expensive, more valuable defenseman makes sense if the player can improve the team in the coming season and beyond.