Three years ago Monday, the Buffalo Sabres signed defenseman Christian Ehrhoff to a 10-year, $40 million contract after his rights were shipped from Vancouver to Long Island and then to upstate New York. Not wanting to be hit with a potential cap recapture penalty if he retired before his deal expired, the team plans to buy out the remaining seven years of his contract.
According to TSN's Bob McKenzie, the Sabres have begun the compliance buyout process with Ehrhoff ahead of Monday's 5 p.m. ET deadline. This would mark Buffalo's second compliance buy out, following Ville Leino last week.
In February, new Sabres GM Tim Murray asked Ehrhoff for a list of teams he'd welcome a trade to, but when the trade deadline passed, the 31-year old defenseman remained in Buffalo. Using CapGeek's recapture calculator, the max penalty the Sabres would have received if Ehrhoff retired after being traded would have been a $10 million hit. He had stayed with the franchise and retired earlier than the 2021 expiration of his contract the hit would be less depending on the year.
The final three years of his deal would have paid him a $1 million salary, so you can see why the Sabres were worried about Ehrhoff hanging up his skates and getting hit with that penalty.
This now means that the free agent market for defenseman gets a little bit better with Ehrhoff available now. He'll certainly have plenty of suitors. And how will this affect the market for Matt Niskanen's services?
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