The Buffalo Sabres asked defenseman Christian Ehrhoff for a list of eight teams he would not wish to be traded to per his modified no-trade clause. The 31-year-old rearguard confirmed to reporters Friday that the Sabres made such a request and he has submitted his list.
That means there are 21 teams with which the Sabres can negotiate a potential deal for Ehrhoff, who is in the third year of a 10-year, $40 million contract with Buffalo. Though Ehrhoff's term could scare some teams off, his $4 million cap hit is awfully friendly.
Ehrhoff may have submitted his list, but he says he is not actively seeking a trade.
"Obviously, the goal is to win the Stanley Cup," Ehrhoff told the Buffalo News. "Playing in the playoffs is nice, but like I've said I made a commitment with the Sabres. As long as I'm here, I've giving 100 percent for the team."
The fact that Ehrhoff hasn't backed the Sabres into a corner and is willing to stay through the rebuild gives the team a lot of flexibility. Also having 21 teams to work with on a potential deal gives a fair amount of latitude.
Ehrhoff becomes a very interesting name on the market at this point. A lot of teams could use a good veteran blueliner who can play special teams and give solid minutes. Additionally, his contract was front loaded, meaning over the next seven seasons, any team that acquires him would be paying $18 million in actual salary over that span, which is pretty affordable for what they'd get.
Ehrhoff has 28 points in 57 games so far this season, while averaging more than 24:02 in ice time.
As noted by Jon Vogl of the Buffalo News, however, it's not just the term that would complicate moving Ehrhoff. The new cap recapture penalty rules also come into play. If Ehrhoff were to retire before his deal expires in 2021, when the defenseman is 38 years old, the Sabres would be on the hook for a cap penalty. The only way for the Sabres to protect themselves from such a penalty is if he is still on the roster and they could buy him out to avoid the recapture penalties.
It's a relatively small detail, but one that general manager Tim Murray probably doesn't take lightly. Ehrhoff could bring a nice return back to Buffalo as they work towards a rebuild.
The Sabres are in a good position where they don't have to move Ehrhoff unless they get the perfect deal for him. But his being available offers another great late twist to the trade deadline buildup.