August 28, 2009
Today's four-player trade between two conference rivals is, on its surface, mutually beneficial: The Vancouver Canucks get Christian Ehrhoff(notes) for their blueline, the San Jose Sharks dump salary and get younger, as Doug Wilson boasted in the press release.
The full deal sees defensemen Ehrhoff and Brad Lukowich(notes) going to Vancouver for 20-year-old center Patrick White, a former first-round pick playing at the University of Minnesota, and defenseman Daniel Rahimi(notes), who played the last two seasons with the AHL's Manitoba Moose.
Ehrhoff had two years left on his deal at a $3.1 million per season; Lukowich has a $1.567 million cap hit and goes UFA next summer. Gotta hand it to Andy Bensch of the Bleacher Report, nailed it last week:
Ehrhoff has easily been a top-four defenseman and an important part of the power play. In the last three years, Ehrhoff has registered 48 power play points. However, Ehrhoff is owed $6.2 million over the next two seasons. And with the Sharks in need of signing the aforementioned two top-12 quality forwards, as well as being able to afford depth players, Ehrhoff appears to be the odd man out.
Essentially, unless Marleau waives his no-trade clause, the only way the Sharks can improve their roster and increase cap room without diminishing their talent level is by trading Ehrhoff.
The signing of Kent Huskins(notes) this summer made Ehrhoff expendable, though it's interesting to see him go in this type of deal after being mentioned as a chip for players like Dany Heatley(notes).
The bottom line for San Jose is, in fact, the bottom line: They save nearly $5 million against the cap for future moves. Plus, if the glowing reviews are any indication, White might be more than a footnote in this trade down the line; although Dan Murphy of Sportsnet wondered if his time spent in the NCAA was an indication that the Canucks weren't pleased with his development.
As for the Canucks ... well, that Ohlund-less defense in front of Roberto Luongo(notes) just got a hell of a boost and a little insurance, with Willie Mitchell(notes) also going UFA next summer. (UPDATE: Although perhaps we're looking at too much of a good thing -- Vancouver has signed Mathieu Schneider, too. So considering their utter lack of cap space, when does that other shoe drop, huh? Good take from Nucks Misconduct here.)