Christian Ehrhoff is scheduled to play in Buffalo until 2021. He may not make it to Thursday.
The Sabres have asked Ehrhoff to supply a list of eight teams to which he will not accept a trade. The defenseman, who is in the third year of a 10-year contract, has a modified no-trade clause but can be moved to the 21 teams he did not list.
He’s not surprised the Sabres asked him.
“They obviously want to be prepared come trade deadline,” Ehrhoff said Friday. “We’ll see where it will take us.”
Ehrhoff joined the Sabres in June 2011 when the team was riding the wave created by new owner Terry Pegula. The wave is gone and the barren land of 30th place remains after two seasons with no playoffs.
“It hasn’t been what everybody expected,” Ehrhoff said in First Niagara Center before Friday’s 4-2 win over San Jose. “We’re in 30th place, and they’ve got to be prepared. It’s part of the business. I’ll keep on focusing on hockey.”
The 31-year-old wouldn’t be against a trade, but he’s not seeking one.
“Obviously, the goal is to win the Stanley Cup,” Ehrhoff said. “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 drawback to dealing Ehrhoff is the NHL’s collective bargaining agreement. The league sought a way to penalize teams for the creative bookkeeping that drove up salaries, so the new CBA has a cap-recapture formula. All contracts longer than six years signed before the 2013 lockout-shortened season are subject to a cap-recapture penalty.
In Ehrhoff’s case, the Sabres gave him a front-loaded deal that eased the salary-cap burden in 2011-12 and 2012-13. Though he made $10 million in salary the first year and $8 million the second season, he counted just $4 million against the Sabres’ salary cap because of his contract average. That gave the Sabres an “advantage” of $6 million and $4 million, respectively, during the two seasons.
Should Ehrhoff retire before his deal expires in 2020-21 (when he’d be 38), that “advantage” will be “recaptured” and added to the Sabres’ salary cap. The penalty, spread over the remaining years of his deal, would range from $3 million to the full $10 million, depending on his retirement date.
If the Sabres kept Ehrhoff around and he wanted to retire early, they could buy him out to avoid the penalties. If they trade him, they’d have little to no control over his retirement, which could hurt their future cap space.
In Friday’s game, Jhonas Enroth had 36 saves, as he won his second straight game after going 0-10-4 before that. Buffalo received goals from Cody Hodgson, Brian Flynn, Matt Moulson and Tyler Myers (two assists).
Latvia nearly stole the show at the Olympics. Now its participation could be wiped from the record books.
The International Olympic Committee is investigating a second Latvian player for using a banned substance. If the player, reportedly defenseman Ralfs Freibergs, is found guilty, the IOC could disqualify the team and erase its eighth-place finish. Forward Vitalijs Pavlovs was already found guilty of using a stimulant found in training aids.
The Latvian Olympic Committee will learn more at a disciplinary hearing, according to the country’s Sportacentrs.com. Sabres coach Ted Nolan led the Latvians, who also featured Buffalo forward Zemgus Girgensons. The entire team could be subject to drug testing if multiple players are found guilty of doping.
Nolan received a self-described “treat” when he left the ice after the morning workout.
“Gilbert Perreault and Rene Robert were there, so it was an honor to see those two,” the coach said of the remaining members of The French Connection. “We just reminisced and talked some hockey.”