Buffalo, NY, United States (4E Sports) – Buffalo Sabres general manager Tim Murray announced that the team used its final compliance buyout on Christian Ehrhoff.
Murray added that the defenseman declined the waiver process so he’ll immediately become a free agent.
The Sabres signed the veteran defenseman to a 10-year, $40 million contract in June of 2011 in a deal that included $14 million in bonuses in the first two seasons.
Buffalo made the move to avoid a significant cap hit penalty if Ehrhoff retires early.
Ehrhoff was one of two veteran defensemen to go through the buyout process Sunday, with Florida also using a compliance buyout on defenseman Ed Jovanovski. He’ll be bought out once he clears waivers Monday.
Ehrhoff will be a popular target in a free agent market that’s thin on defenseman. He’s still just 31 years old and coming off a season in which he scored 33 points in 79 games on a rebuilding Sabres team.
He’s a legitimate top four forward, joining a short list of them in free agency that includes Dan Boyle, Matt Niskanen and Anton Stralman.