Sabres send Steve Montador’s rights to Chicago; Christian Ehrhoff signing on the horizon?

We forgive you if your head starts spinning trying to keep up with the pinball-like patterns of teams trading negotiation rights for draft picks.

That process continued moments ago, as the Buffalo Sabres sent defenseman Steve Montador’s negotiating rights to the Chicago Blackhawks for a seventh round pick. That seventh round pick was involved in the trade that sent Tomas Kopecky to the Florida Panthers. To keep it simple, the Nashville Predators will meet (or fail to meet) conditions that will determine if the Sabres end up with a seventh round pick in 2012 or 2013. (It’s probably a moot point unless the Sabres make like the Detroit Red Wings and find the next Pavel Datsyuk in a future seventh round.)

On the Blackhawks end, they get the chance to fill a hole in their roster created by Brian Campbell’s departure. Naturally, Montador is nowhere near the offensive talent that Campbell is but he might be able to gobble up some minutes with semi-competent (and most importantly, cheap) play.

The implications of this trade are a bit more interesting for the Sabres, though. Forgive me for reading between the lines, but the Sabres just shipped their fourth round pick to the New York Islanders for Christian Ehrhoff’s negotiating rights. Could this move be a sign that Buffalo is on the verge of signing Ehrhoff? It’s obviously too early to tell, but that seems like a reasonable leap to make.

We’ll let you know if there’s fire to go with that smoke, though.

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