It was 12 short hours ago that the New York Islanders traded their fourth-round pick to the Vancouver Canucks in order to get the exclusive negotiating rights to Christian Erhoff. After those talks fell apart Darcy Regier flew in and picked up the rights for the German-born defenseman. Now he has about 28 hours to convince Ehrhoff to sign with the Sabres.
Numerous accounts explained how the talks with the Isles fell apart, despite an offer “well above” the Canucks’ original. While no number had been hammered down concerning how much the Isles offered, I think it is safe to say it was in the $5 to $5.5 million neighborhood.
One quote, from a previous ESPN rumor, provided some insight as to why Ehrhoff declined to sign with the Islanders. It provides some hope to Sabres fans who hope to see him reach an agreement before Friday.
The defenseman has stated on several occasions that he wants to sign with a contender.
While I am not a fan of trading for exclusive negotiating rights, this is just another piece of the puzzle that is the Pegula Era. Obviously Darcy Regier feels free to go out and get whatever players he wants. In this case, he knows that the UFA crop is dwindling and he sprung to action.
Now Regier needs to sign him. This deal really means nothing if Ehrhoff hits the open market and signs elsewhere. Sure, it is a sign of the times. Obviously Darcy is willing to do whatever it takes, but without signing him there isn’t much hope to be had.
There are a few things working in Buffalo’s favor. The Sabres are certainly more of a winner than the Islanders are currently, score one for the good guys. The Sabres also have an incredible owner willing to go above and beyond to get his players, including meeting their quotes, score two. However, there are 27 other teams out there who may be willing to hit the $6 million mark, or more. That is where things get fishy. I don’t think this young man is worth that much money. If the Sabres hope to land Brad Richards and a few other players, a $6 million hit will be tough to deal with.
The ball is in Darcy’s court. He has just over one day to get things done, hopefully the situation in Buffalo is more attractive to Ehrhoff than it was on the Island. If that is the case there might just be a new number five in town come Friday.