From the bottom of the league to the top, all in two days.
The Pittsburgh Penguins signed defenceman Christian Ehrhoff right off the opening of free agency on July 1, one day after he was surprisingly bought out by the bottom feeding Buffalo Sabres.
Ehrhoff landed only a one-year deal for $4-million, but he will be a great fit with the Penguins stars and is exactly the kind of puck possession defenceman they were looking for. New GM Jim Rutherford has said from Day 1 he wants to use analytics to drive team building, and few defencemen have had as much of an impact on driving play as Ehrhoff in recent years.
He replaces Matt Niskanen, who is going to be hugely overpaid in free agency both with term and dollars, something the Penguins weren’t willing to do given their cap situation.
Ehrhoff, meanwhile, can now parlay a big season in Pittsburgh this coming year into bigger money a year from now.
The Penguins now have only $10-million in salary cap space with 15 players signed, which makes this signing an even better buy from a bargain perspective given Ehrhoff will play big power play minutes and in the top four at even strength.
Pittsburgh also made two more good value buys on Tuesday in adding backup netminder Thomas Greiss and depth forward Blake Comeau.