NHL teams continue to flip the negotiating rights of pending UFAs to clubs for conditional draft picks.
Only a day after the NY Islanders acquired the rights of defenseman Christian Ehrhoff from the Vancouver Canucks, they dealt them to the Buffalo Sabres for a conditional draft pick.
Perhaps the possibility of re-signing Ehrhoff was the reason behind their subsequent trade of blueliner Steve Montador to the Chicago Blackhawks for a conditional pick in 2012 or 2013.
Montador, 31, had career highs in points (26) and plus-minus (16), the latter being the best on the Sabres last season.
The Blackhawks were rumored to have interest in Montador prior to the trade deadline in February. They ultimately dealt for Chris Campoli, and the addition of Montador perhaps casts doubt on the Blackhawks efforts to re-sign Campoli, a restricted free agent.
Thre minor signings of note occurred Wednesday evening, as the Pittsburgh Penguins inked winger Arron Asham to a one-year, $775k contract, the Montreal Canadiens signed defenseman Yannick Weber to a two-year, $1.7 million contract worth $850K per season, and the Vancouver Canucks re-upped defenseman Andrew Alberts to a two-year deal worth $1.225 million per season.
Asham played in 44 regular season games last season for the Penguins, missing considerable time due to a concussion, but he stepped up his performance in the playoffs, netting three goals and four points in seven game.
Weber has proven to be a versatile player, who normally plays defense but has also been pressed into service as a checking winger. His big shot is likely to earn him power-play time next season.
Alberts played in 41 games for the Canucks last season plus 9 playoff games. He missed considerable time to injury (shoulder, broken wrist) but has emerged as a steady, physical, stay-at-home depth defenseman.