Sabres use compliance buyout on Christian Ehrhoff

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Buffalo Sabres GM Tim Murray is pulling out all the stops to make his mark.

TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports the Sabres will be using their second compliance buyout on defenseman Christian Ehrhoff.

Ehrhoff, 31, signed a 10-year, $40 million deal with Buffalo in 2011, the same summer they signed forward Ville Leino to a six-year, $27 million deal. The Sabres used their first compliance buyout on Leino on June 18.

Update (3:45 p.m. ET): Sabres make it official – they’ve used a compliance buyout on Ehrhoff.

While buying out Leino was expected, the Ehrhoff move came out of nowhere. Two seasons ago he was Buffalo’s top blue liner and defensive point producer. This past season he struggled a bit scoring six goals and adding 27 assists for a Sabres team that was worst in the league.

While Ehrhoff’s play was mostly fine, Ehrhoff was subject to the league’s cap recapture penalty if his career ended before the contract was up. That means the Sabres would’ve been punished against the salary cap in a big way if he was out of hockey before the 2020-21 season when the deal ended. CapGeek.com has different ways it could’ve broke down.

The buyout is a compliance buyout and his $4 million cap hit won’t be on the books, but the Sabres will be paying him $12 million until 2027-28.

Ehrhoff will now be free to be signed as a free agent on July 1 and he’ll have no shortage of suitors. He’s capable of running a power play and playing big minutes. He’ll compete with Pittsburgh’s Matt Niskanen for  big free agent dollars.