Ehrhoff ready to compete for Cup in Buffalo

Christian Ehrhoff took a long route from Vancouver to Buffalo.

When the defenseman was about to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, the Canucks traded Ehrhoff to the New York Islanders on June 28. Unable to come to terms with Ehrhoff, the Islanders traded his rights to the Sabres late on June 29.

"For me, the No. 1 criteria is that I want to play for a championship, and I didn't see that with the Islanders," Ehrhoff said Wednesday as he was introduced in Buffalo, according to the Sabres' website. "So I decided not to take their offer, which was a great offer."

On June 30, the Sabres signed the seven-year veteran to a 10-year, $40 million contract, which will pay him $10 million this season.

"I was obviously a little disappointed when I got traded from Vancouver," said Ehrhoff, who was in Germany as his rights were being moved around the league.

"Everybody had good things to say about the city of Buffalo being a great place to live with your kids and a good place for them to grow up -- which was another criteria I was looking for. And since [owner] Terry [Pegula] took over the team, he has showed that he is very committed to putting a team together that can win the Stanley Cup."

Coach Lindy Ruff said Ehrhoff will be a great addition to the Sabres' blue line.

"Christian fits the way we play," Ruff said. "We're a team that has our defense involved and [we] get up ice. If you look at the way Vancouver's defensemen played and were involved in the offensive side of the game, it's an automatic fit.

"He also brings another weapon to us on the power play with a great shot. He's just another real good piece for this hockey club and we're excited to have him."

Ehrhoff made $3.4 million in the final year of his contract last year.

He had 14 goals, 36 assists and a plus-19 rating in 79 games for Vancouver last season. He had two goals and 10 assists in the Canucks' run to the Stanley Cup finals, but was a minus-13 while hampered with a nagging shoulder injury.