It is an unfortunate loss to see Ehrhoff leaving the Canucks - he certainly has been a great player to watch in his time in Vancouver - and while playing on a great team no doubt helps a player excel, Ehrhoff's talent is undeniable.
I agree with Mike Gillis' decision however, to offer him money in the range that he signed defensemen Kevin Bieksa and Dan Hamhuis.
To pay him over 5 million would have been disproportionate to the makeup of the team. If the Canucks were to pay him in that price range, he would be in the cap hit range of their Selke, Hart, Art Ross and Ted Lindsay award winners, and their franchise goaltender. Ehrhoff, as good as he is, is not someone you would consider a candidate for the Norris trophy. In my mind, there are three defensemen on the team who are certainly his equal - despite Ehrhoff's offensive numbers. He is an intelligent player who skates and moves the puck well, but was primarily a key component on the power-play. It is possible, however, that there are other defensemen who will step in and put up some impressive numbers on that unit. Five on five - Ehrhoff was not quite as impressive, and shorthanded - not a strength of his. If he were as good in his own end as his team-mates are, he may have been worth the money that he will certainly get elsewhere. To give him the big money and term without that guaranteed back end strength is a large risk that I think the Canucks were correct not to take. Hamhuis, Bieksa and especially Edler, have salaries that make management sense. Without Ehrhoff, the Canucks still have a good amount of depth, particularly if they are able to sign Alberts, and/or Ballard has a good season.
The Canucks have 13 million dollars left under the cap, and still have Hansen, Higgins, Torres, Salo, Alberts, Glass and Tambellini unsigned, and it would likely take 8 million or more to sign them (or comparable players) . Add Ehrhoff making 5 or more million, and they pretty much would be hitting the cap.
With that money to spend, however, the Canucks have some interesting options where they may be able to sign a pair of quality players - and there are players out there such as Joel Ward, Ville Leino, or Alex Frolov who might fit well in a Canucks jersey if the price is sensible.
In any event, I appreciate what Ehrhoff did as a Canuck, but have a great deal of confidence in the Canucks' management ability to fill out the roster with players who give them an excellent chance of picking up where they left off this past season.
It must be stressful to be an NHL GM - but it also must be a lot of fun to be in a position to make these decisions...
Best of luck July 1st.