Buffalo Sabres GM Tim Murray recently made it known that he is fielding offers on veteran defenseman Christian Ehrhoff. The rearguard joins Ryan Miller, Matt Moulson, Steve Ott and Henrik Tallinder on a long list of Sabres believed to be on the market as Wednesday’s trade deadline approaches.
It just so happens that the San Jose Sharks could use an upgrade on defense. More specifically, the club needs a left-handed shot on the back end, and Ehrhoff headlines a very small group of lefty defensemen available for trade. The fact that he began his NHL career with the Sharks is a bonus, as he’s familiar with the organization and several of the team’s current players.
It’s not just his history and handedness that make him a prime target, though. With Dan Boyle struggling this season, the Sharks need a rearguard who can put up points and run the power play. Jason Demers is picking up some of that slack, but he could use some help. Ehrhoff is a highly capable puck-mover and has a cannon of a shot from the point. He’s also extremely mobile and agile, allowing him to rush the puck up ice with ease. The 31-year-old defenseman would work wonders for San Jose’s struggling power play unit.
Ehrhoff has 28 points in 57 games this season, giving him more points than any Sharks defenseman. His production is particularly impressive considering the fact that he plays for the worst team in the NHL. On top of his offense, Ehrhoff is more than capable of contributing in his own zone. His stick-work and defensive positioning have improved drastically since he broke into the league in 2003, and he has developed into a reliable two-way player who can be used in any situation.
With an annual cap hit of just $4 million, Ehrhoff is on a bargain of a contract and is signed through 2021. At age 31, he still has several good years of hockey left in him. There will undoubtedly be a number of teams vying for his services in the coming days, and I’d expect the Sharks to be among them. Ehrhoff is exactly what the club needs and could be the missing ingredient to a successful Stanley Cup run.