If Christian Ehrhoff has anything, it’s a financial cushion.
He made $22 million in three years with the Buffalo Sabres and then collected more when his contract was bought out. He didn’t need a blockbuster, long-term deal as an unrestricted free agent. He could pick his spot, try to win and do it all again next summer.
Which he did on Tuesday, signing a 1-year, $4 million deal with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
It’s a smart bet for both the team and the player. Ehrhoff slides right into a defense corps as the second-best puck moving D-man behind Kris Letang and as a veteran stop-gap to give Derrick Pouliot and Simon Despres more time to ripen.
Ehrhoff, meanwhile, gets to ride shot gun with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin for a season, attempting to win a Stanley Cup while posting fat stats ahead of another free-agent contract in Summer 2015.
Nothing like winning the hand of a coveted free agent to change the conversation. This was a strong win for GM Jim Rutherford right out of the gate, especially in the cap hit.