Irony - forgetting to remember to miss Ehrhoff
Christian Ehrhoff's decision to leave the Vancouver Canucks may have hurt at the time; in hindsight however, Mike Gillis deserves credit for his decision to let him go rather than offering mountains of money and a long term. The irony of Ehrhoff's decision is that (aside from all the money) it may weaken his career far more than it hurt the Canucks, and cost his new team quite a bit for a long time. Where the Canucks are concerned, the loss looks like it may actually be a gain.
The Canucks didn't get off to a blazing start this season; nevertheless, they have climbed back into first in the division, and the departure of Ehrhoff hasn't exactly been a trending issue.
The key beneficiary in these developments is obviously Alex Edler, as well as the depth guys who now play a greater role. Edler is the fourth highest scoring defenseman in the NHL; but perhaps even more important is the fact that at the same time Edler is a significant upgrade defensively over Ehrhoff. It is still relatively early in the season, but at this point, Edler, Bieksa, and Hamhuis all have as many points as Ehrhoff - and Bieksa and Hamhuis are the Canucks shut down pair. Sami Salo is only two points behind Ehrhoff, but has scored twice as many goals, and stand-up defenseman Aaron Rome has lit the red light as often as Ehrhoff has. When it comes to two-way play, every player on the Canucks roster has a better plus/minus than Ehrhoff - and perhaps surprisingly, the same can be said of the Buffalo Sabres as Ehrhoff is struggling with a team worst minus 11.
While it was easy to like what he added at the other team's end of the ice, considering the Canucks depth on the blueline, including having solid guys like Alberts, Tanev and Sulzer available when needed, it is hard to consider the Ehrhoff loss to in fact be a loss. To be fair however, he played like he was suffering from a shoulder injury in the post-season last year, and who knows if he has been healthy thus far this year.
On the other hand, I believe Ehrhoff expressed that his move to Buffalo would improve his "Chance to Win a Cup" - at this point, it looks like his decision might cost him another chance, and that he seriously under-estimated his team-mates in Vancouver, who deserve a lot of credit for that peak in his career. Without them around him, he just doesn't look like the marquis defenseman he appeared to be. Again, it is early in the season, but the chance of a Vancouver/Boston rematch in the Stanley Cup looks much more likely than Ehrhoff making another appearance. Ironically, without him, the Canucks may have an even better chance of reversing the result.