Christian Ehrhoff's tenure with the Vancouver Canucks is over.
Unable to reach an agreement with the defenseman on a new contract, the Canucks today dealt his exclusive negotiating rights to the New York Islanders in exchange for a fourth round picks in the 2012 entry draft.
Ehrhoff, 28, is eligible for unrestricted free agency on July 1st, giving the Islanders a narrow window of opportunity to re-sign the defenseman, who last season had career bests in assists (36) and points (50), exceeding the forty-plus point mark for the third straight year.
He was also the Canucks leading scorer amongst their defensemen, which probably explains why he earlier in the week spurned a contract offer from the Canucks similar to the multi-year deal (worth $4.6 million per season) they'd signed Kevin Bieksa to on Monday.
Ehrhoff now becomes the most valuable defenseman in this summer's UFA market, unless the Islanders can re-sign him. While the club has the available cap space, needing to get over the mandatory cap floor (set at $48.3 million this coming season), it remains to be seen if they can re-sign him.
It's possible he could command around $5.5 million per season, perhaps more, on the open market.
The Islanders have been rebuilding for several years now around young talent, and Ehrhoff might prefer signing with a team which stands a better chance of being a potential Cup contender in the next couple of years.
Still, if Isles GM Garth Snow could get Ehrhoff under contract, he'd provide a welcome boost to their defense corps.