If you've been around the site the last week, listened to yesterday's WIIM Radio, or have generally been on the internet lately, you already know that guys like Christian Ehrhoff and Henrik Tallinder are on the Red Wings' radar prior to Wednesday's trade deadline.
While Ken Holland has told the press recently that he'd be comfortable standing pat if need be and that he's not really looking for a rental, we wanted to get the scoop on two of Buffalo's defensemen as part of our due diligence. To do so, we reached out to Andy Boron from Die by the Blade, our SB Nation brethren covering the Sabres. Here's what he had to say.
Christian Ehrhoff has been an unbelievably effective defenseman over the past few seasons, as long as you don't judge him solely by his basic numbers. Yes, his point totals and +/- have plummeted since he left the Canucks to join the Sabres, but read that previous statement again and you'll know why. If you're going to pay attention to any stat, pay attention to how Ehrhoff's teammates play with him on and off the ice - over the past few seasons, Ehrhoff has been the player who, more than anyone else, has increased his teammates production (primarily measured in Fenwick) and it's really not that close. He'd be a fine point man on any power play in the NHL, is fine enough in his own end, and has been reliable playing big minutes for a bad team.
The problem with trading Ehrhoff, for Buffalo, is a feature of the new CBA known as cap recapture. In short, it means that if Ehrhoff retires before his mega-deal ends, the Sabres get hit with massive cap penalties. So if they're going to trade him, they'll need a return that makes it worth the significant risk it will be to move him. I think the Ehrhoff trade starts with a first rounder and a top prospect, and goes from there.
Hank is a rock solid, reliable defenseman, but at this point in his career he's more a guy you'd want to shore up your third pairing rather than to be a stalwart on your second line. He's very smart, is responsible and rarely caught out of position, and he can kill penalties very well, but he's lost a step in recent years and doesn't add much offensive punch. Still, he's a great presence in the locker room and has the experience of deep playoff runs behind him already. Since the Sabres have traded some other older, one-dimensional defensemen Robyn Regehr and Jordan Leopold for second rounders in recent years, that's probably what Tim Murray is looking for.
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I think Andy has hit the nail right on the head as far as the apparent cost of both these players. I'm still very interested in Ehrhoff, especially since it seems like he'll likely come in a bit cheaper than Edler. The cost on Tallinder is good, but I'm wondering if Boston is simply more-willing to pay that for a guy more likely to be a rental.
Thanks a lot to Andy at Die by the Blade. Go check them out; there's lots of news coming out of Buffalo these days and they're on top of it all.