BUFFALO – General manager Tim Murray said the Sabres discussed every scenario regarding Christian Ehrhoff’s future. Yes, they could’ve traded the defenseman. Ultimately, that could’ve bitten them badly in several years, as much as $10 million against the cap in dead money, according to capgeek.com.
So the Sabres, fearing that cap recapture penalty, bought out the final seven years of the 31-year-old’s 10-year, $40 million contract Sunday. They owe him $12 million.
“With the penalties on his contract on the end if he were to retire, we felt that in six or seven years when he’s making a million dollars and has a lot of incentive to retire, that the penalties are too high for where we want to be at that time,” Murray said this morning inside the First Niagara Center. “We want to be a contending team that spends to the cap that has ability to acquire a free agent at the trade deadline that puts us over the top, that makes lots of money.
“That contract was a hindrance. I like Christian. He’s a good player. I guess he could’ve played it out here. He didn’t seem to be all in here, and I respect that. I wasn’t here when he was signed.”
Murray said he discussed Ehrhoff’s future with Richard Curran, his agent, at the NHL Entry Draft over the weekend in Philadelphia.
“We weren’t sniping at each other, I would say,” Murray said. “It was a good conversation.”
Murray wouldn’t comment on Ehrhoff’s play with the Sabres.
“I would just say politely that it was not the right place and the right time in Christian’s career to come back here,” he said.