The Buffalo Sabres have finalized a compliance buyout of puck moving defenseman Christian Ehrhoff, according to a report from TSN's Bob McKenzie.
The 31-year-old Ehrhoff is a noted fitness zealot who remains productive and effective. He instantly becomes the best unrestricted free-agent defender on the market.
A talented offensive defenseman, Ehrhoff surely had trade value, but the cap benefit recapture risk carried by his contract is so enormous that the Sabres likely judged the value of eliminating that liability as being greater than the value of any hockey assets that the German defenseman might net in a trade return.
Speaking with John Vogl of the Buffalo News on Sunday, Sabres general manager Tim Murray said that Ehrhoff's contract - and presumably the recapture concern specifically - was a "major factor" in this decision. He went on to suggest that Ehrhoff's inability to improve the club and clear desire not to play in Buffalo was a consideration as well.
Ehrhoff has a no-movement clause on his contract and can decline to be placed on unconditional $125 waivers prior to his deal being terminated. A buyout of Ehrhoff's contract will cost the Sabres $12 million dollars spread out over 14 years per capgeek.com.