An update on Christian Ehrhoff’s contract status, a listing of the notable remaining UFAs by position, and a KHL star is linked to the Washington Capitals.
NHL UFA update.
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Aaron Portzline reports the Columbus Blue Jackets still have an offer on the table for unrestricted free agent defenseman Christian Ehrhoff, putting them in line with a least a couple of other NHL teams. Ehrhoff will accept a one-year contract but wants more money than what the Blue Jackets are offering. The 33-year-old blueliner isn’t considering playing in Europe or the KHL.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ehrhoff earned $4 million last season with Pittsburgh on a one-year deal. He’s not believed seeking that much for 2015-16. However, the Blue Jackets only have around $3.7 million in cap space and would prefer inking him to a deal that still leaves them enough room for other moves (if necessary) over the course of the season. Ehrhoff could be seeking $3 million and the Blue Jackets could be offering $2 million or less. He’s also been linked to the Boston Bruins and Carolina Hurricanes.
Portzline also compiled a roster consisting of every notable player still available via the UFA market:
F1: Curtis Glencross – Steppen Weiss – Daniel Briere
F2: Martin Havlat – Olli Jokinen – Michael Ryder
F3: Martin Erat – Tomas Fleischmann – Brenden Morrow
F4: Erik Cole – Marcel Goc – B.J. Crombeen
extras: Tyler Kennedy, Jiri Tlusty
D1: Christian Ehrhoff – Andrej Meszaros
D2: Jan Hejda – Cody Franson
D3: Tim Gleason – Marek Zidlicky
extra: John Erskine
G1: Josh Harding
G2: Jonas Gustavsson
G3: Ray Emery
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Portzline observes, this would be a pretty good team in 2008-09. Kidding aside, he expects some of those players could end up on professional tryout offers (PTOs) during training camp in September. Some, like Briere, Morrow, Jokinen, Havlat, Cole and Harding, are likely facing retirement. A couple of notable exceptions from this list are forwards Brad Boyes and Mike Santorelli. I expect they’ll also end up on PTOs as they try to earn themselves roster spots for next season.
KHL defenseman to join the Capitals?
CSNWASHINGTON.COM: J.J. Regan cites a report from the KHL’s website claiming KHL defenseman and Team Russia captain Ilya Nikulin hopes to make the move to the NHL. Two reporters have linked Nikulin with the Washington Capitals. He is close friends with Capitals star Alexander Ovechkin.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Regan notes the Capitals limited cap space ($470K) and Nikulin’s age (33) could prevent the veteran blueliner from joining the club. Sure, Ovechkin could put in a good word, and the Caps could free up some space by demoting goalie Justin Peters, but that won’t give them enough to sign Nikulin and still leave them sufficient cap room for next season. Unless the Caps ship out a salaried player from their current roster, they simply cannot afford to add Nikulin.