Fresh off a trip to the World Cup of Hockey final with Team Europe, Christian Ehrhoff will now get a chance make his mark with a new team.
The 34-year-old defenseman has signed a professional tryout offer with the Boston Bruins, the NHL club announced, and is expected to join the team Monday. Ehrhoff had three assists and posted a plus-2 rating in six games for Europe, which lost to Canada in the tournament final.
“I think he has played really well for us,” Team Europe captain Anze Kopitar told Yahoo’s Josh Cooper during the World Cup. “Obviously I know for whatever reason things in LA didn’t work out for him as good as he would have liked I’m sure. It’s definitely nice to see right now that he has been playing good and has been a big part of our blueline.”
As Kopitar eluded to, Ehrhoff endured a miserable season in 2015-16, which was split between the Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks.
Ehrhoff recorded just two goals and 12 points in 48 NHL games. His offensive output was its lowest since his rookie season of 2003-04. He also registered a -3.2 Relative Corsi rating, per behindthenet.ca, despite starting 57.1 percent of his shifts in the offensive zone. That all led to the Kings waiving Ehrhoff, forcing him to play five games in the AHL until a trade to Chicago occurred before the trade deadline. Ehrhoff only dressed in eight games with the Blackhawks.
“Last year definitely wasn’t a good year,” Ehrhoff told Cooper. “The fit in LA wasn’t right and then in Chicago I didn’t really play that much. (Coach Joel Quenneville) had other plans with the younger guys so it was definitely a tough year for me. I had a good finish at the World Championship to get some confidence and got a good summer of training and then made the Olympics with Germany, which was huge and boosted my confidence, too.”
Ehrhoff has 74 goals and 339 points in 789 NHL games. His best season came in 2010-11 with the Vancouver Canucks when he recorded 14 goals and 50 points in 79 games. That season earned him 10-year, $40-million deal with the Buffalo Sabres. However, the contract was bought out by the Sabres after just three seasons.
Despite being invited to Boston’s training camp, Ehrhoff faces an uphill battle in an attempt to sign an NHL contract and make the team.
The Bruins have four pre-season games remaining before they open the regular season in Columbus on Oct. 13. Boston also has seven defensemen on one-way contracts.
Still, Ehrhoff becomes the second Team Europe blueliner to parlay a World Cup appearance into an NHL deal. Dennis Seidenberg, who was bought out by the Bruins in the off-season, signed a one-year, $1-million deal with the New York Islanders on Wednesday.