Isles deal Christian Ehrhoff to Sabres

New York Islanders general manager Garth Snow took his best shot, but failed to sign defenseman Christian Ehrhoff by his self-imposed 5 p.m. Wednesday deadline, and ended up trading the rights to the defenseman to the Buffalo Sabres for a fourth-round pick in the 2012 NHL draft.

According to Newsday, the Islanders had broken off talks with the 28-year-old Ehrhoff, whose rights were acquired by New York from the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday in exchange for a 2012 fourth-round pick.

Had Snow not imposed the artificial deadline to lock up Ehrhoff, he would've had until Friday to sign him before he became an unrestricted free agent; now that opportunity falls to the Sabres.

Snow would not divulge to Newsday how much he offered Ehrhoff, but the number was "well north" of the five-year, $23 million contract Vancouver gave to defenseman Kevin Bieksa, according to the newspaper.

"We made a significant offer," Snow told the newsaper. "I don't want to get into specific numbers, but I felt like we made a good offer and a good run to get Christian to sign."

Snow added:
"We took a step in the last 24 hours to get a quality player signed. It didn't work in this instance, but we'll keep trying to get top talent here."

Ehrhoff, who had 14 goals and 50 points for the Canucks last season, would've represented a massive upgrade to the Islanders' blueline. A gifted offensive player, Ehrhoff has the ability to quarterback a team's power-play unit. The German native had two goals and 10 assists in the Canucks' run to the Stanley Cup finals, but was a minus-13.

The 28-year-old German defenseman has 53 goals, 173 assists and 338 penalty minutes in 500 regular-season games with San Jose and Vancouver. He has seven goals and 27 assists in 73 playoff games.

Meanwhile, upon acquiring Ehrhoff's rights, the Sabres sent the rights to defenseman Steve Montador to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for a seventh-round pick in either 2012 or 2013.

A Vancouver native, Montador has 28 goals, 89 assists and 762 penalty minutes over parts of nine seasons with the Calgary Flames (2001-06), Florida Panthers (2005-08), Anaheim Ducks (2008-09), Boston Bruins (2009) and Sabres (2009-11).

Mike Mazzeo is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.