35-Year-Old Defenseman – Free Agent
Christian Ehrhoff Contract Information:
Signed a contract with DHL Kolner Haie in October of 2016.
Ehrhoff signed with Kolner Haie of the Deutsche Eishockey Liga on Monday.
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RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
There was no outlook written for Christian Ehrhoff.
Ehrhoff was never the same after leaving Vancouver in 2011, having been bought out by the Sabres after signing a 10-year contract, then failing to make much of an impact with the Penguins before splitting the 2015-16 season with the Kings and Blackhawks, finishing with 13 points in 48 games and even occasionally sitting as a healthy scratch. The 34-year-old was considered a premier puck mover, but injuries and inconsistency have cost him, and is now more of a depth defenseman than power-play quarterback.
Ehrhoff is coming off a concussion-riddled 2014-15 campaign with the Penguins, in which he managed three goals, 14 points, and a plus-8 rating in 49 games. When healthy, the 33-year-old is a puck-moving blueliner who can man the point on the power play, but at this stage in his career, he might as well be light years removed from the 50-point output he turned in with Vancouver in 2010-11. Head injuries for a player of Ehrhoff's age carry plenty of concern, as the Islanders found out with Lubomir Visnovsky the past few seasons. As a result, Ehrhoff was forced to settle for a modest one-year, $1.5 million deal with the Kings this summer, though his experience as a top-four defenseman would make him a relative bargain if he's able to stay on the ice for the bulk of the 82-game schedule.
Ehrhoff, who led Buffalo in ice time last season (23:54 TOI/G), might be able to better relax as a member of Pittsburgh's defensive corps. With veterans Paul Martin and Kris Letang on the blue line, the recently-signed free agent probably won't deal with nearly the level of pressure he saw in Buffalo, and his numbers could see an uptick accordingly. Provided the 32-year-old hasn't lost a step or two, its not difficult envisioning him piling up the production like he did for Vancouver, where he scored 14 goals and 50 points in 2010-11 (including 28 power-play points.) Moreover, he's auditioning with the Penguins for a long-term deal after signing a one-year, $4 million contract, so the German has additional incentive for a strong campaign.
Ehrhoff appeared a lot more comfortable during his second season in Buffalo, and was a rare bright light on an otherwise weak blue line. He reached a career-high in TOI/game at 25:11, led the team with a plus-6 rating and posted 22 points in 47 games, a 40-point pace if it werenít for the NHL lockout. When Ehrhoff signed a ten-year deal in July 2011, the team had visions of contending. Now, with veterans leaving Buffalo en masse, itís a different landscape. He should hover around the 40-point mark, but could see a dip in production if more veterans leave, especially star winger Thomas Vanek.
It was a disappointing first season in Buffalo for Ehrhoff as he was hampered by a slow start and a mid-season rib injury; he failed to break 40 points for the first time in three seasons, finishing with 32 after signing a huge free agent contract. However, lying beneath the disappointment was a decent finish to the season as Ehrhoff looked to finally appear comfortable in his new surroundings. He had 15 points in 28 games after the All-Star break and a full season in '12-13 should yield a return to the 40-point plateau for the German blueliner.
Ehrhoff signed a giant free agent contract with the Sabres over the summer and expectations in Buffalo are soaring for the German defender. Ehrhoff could play the point on the power play alongside Tyler Myers, creating a devastating look for opponents. Ten goals and 30-35 assists are not too much to ask of Ehrhoff in 2011-12.
After seeing his production fluctuate in four full seasons with the Sharks, Ehrhoff was able to not only match a successful 2008-09 campaign, but also surpass it in his first tour with the Canucks. The 28-year-old blueliner set a career-high with 44 points (14 G, 30 A) while leading the Orcas in ice time. He also sported a career-best plus-36 rating. Ehrhoff will once again be playing the role of lead defenseman for the Canucks, so look for more of the same from the German blueliner in Year 2 with Vancouver.
After posting a career-high 42 points (8 goals, 34 assists) in 77 games for the Sharks last season, Ehrhoff was traded to Vancouver in a salary dump move this offseason. The Canucks will be receiving a 27-year-old defenseman who appears to be entering his prime. Ehrhoff had shown flashes of his potential earlier in his career, but a down year in 2007-08 hurt his stock. Well, his stock is back on the uptick after his 40-point campaign and being on a solid Canucks squad showed help Ehrhoff improve upon his -12 plus/minus from last season.
Despite playing in 77 games, Ehrhoff managed just 22 pts (1G, 22A) in the regular season of 2007-08. A sound defenseman who can skate well but is not a scorer, Ehrhoff could afford to shoot the puck with more accuracy. On the upside, he is a sizeable player and his penalty minutes have trended upwards in every year of his career. In 2007-08, he posted 97 shots on goal, 67 less than he had one year prior. Overall, Ehrhoff lacks scoring potential and will award fantasy owners with only a handful of assists.
Yes, the 25-year-old had a career year with 33 points (10 goals and 23 assists) in 82 games. Yes, he finished second among San Jose defensemen in scoring. Still, don't expect Ehrhoff's stats to increase significantly; in fact don't be surprised if his numbers decline. Not only have teams continue to exploit his defensive weaknesses -- which limits his ice time - but he also continues to be a constant fixture in Ron Wilson's doghouse, which limits his upside even more. Maybe a change of scenery will help Ehrhoff out, but there's been no talk of the team moving him thus far.
He had 23 points as a rookie last year, but there should be a major spike to that this time around with Tom Preissing gone. Matt Carle might be more trendy in fantasy hockey circles, but Ehrhoff's upside looks just as tasty.
He's got lots of offensive ability, but he needs to show more in his own end to get a role on Ron Wilson's team. Keep him on the radar for a free-agent pick if he makes the club, but in most pools you don't want to bother drafting Ehrhoff.