We continue our series where Canucks Army will profile various players of interest leading up to the new season.
It’s not often a team can claim a slam dunk on a trade, but the cap era produces victims left and right. Following a lackluster season with San Jose in 2008-09 where he was dead last with a -12, Christian Ehrhoff became one of those victims. Bundled with Brad Lukowich to clear enough salary to ink Dany Heatley, Vancouver gave up two forgettable prospects in return for what turned out to be their highest scoring defenseman in a single season since Ed Jovanovski in 2002-03.
Ehrhoff played juniors in the German elite league between 1999–2003. He was selected by San Jose in the fourth round – 106th overall – in the 2001 entry draft, the same draft where Vancouver took R. J. Umberger and Fedor Fedorov (we’ll pause and wait while you slam your face against a wall). He made his NHL debut in 2003 and is one of only nine German-born hockey players active in the NHL. While only 28, he has made nearly 70 international appearances for Germany, including at the Under-18’s, WJC’s, Olympics and World Cup of Hockey championships.
This will be the last season of his four year, $3,100,000 per deal. It’s probable Gillis will work to sign him to an extension during the season, similar to what he did with Alexander Edler two years ago.
Counting Stats: 14g-30a-44pts
Quality of Competition: -0.022 (6th amongst Vancouver defensemen)
CORSI Rel QoC: 0.028 (5th amongst Vancouver defensemen)
5×5 GFon/60: 3.46 (1st amongst Vancouver defensemen)
5×5 GAon/60: 1.91 (2nd amongst Vancouver defensemen)
5×4 GFon/60: 8.98 (1st amongst Vancouver defensemen)
5×4 GAon/60: 0.77 (2nd amongst Vancouver defensemen)
4×5 GFon/60: 1.08 (3rd amongst Vancouver defensemen)
4×5 GAon/60: 5.76 (2nd amongst Vancouver defensemen)
The obvious knock against someone like Ehrhoff is their actual defensive acumen. You can see above he played primarily against soft opposition, he is prone to poor reads at his own blueline and certainly doesn’t throw his body around. Then again Vancouver has plenty of brawn, so he shouldn’t be expected to be overly physical.
Ehrhoff is the premier offensive defenseman of the group; his 44 points was the Canucks best and tied him with Zdeno Chara for 12th best in the league in 2009-10. He shared the team lead in PPG by a defenseman with Sami Salo at six and, overall, enjoyed a career year in goals, points, +/-, ESGs, GWGs, shooting % (7.7%) and ATOI (22:47). His should play a similar role for Vigneault this season: second pairing at even strength (likely with Keith Ballard or Kevin Bieksa), first team power play and very limited PK time.