You may not know this, but the Oilers are a bad hockey team and bad hockey teams need players. This is why the reaction of a lot of fans to a player, any player, being place on waivers is "OMG WE NEED TO CLAIM THAT GUY RIGHT NOW!!!" Sometimes that reaction doesn't make a lot of sense, sometimes it does, and sometimes it makes a whole hell of a lot of sense, like today when the Kings placed Christian Ehrhoff on waivers. And since the Oilers are dead last we have the first shot at him. I knew being lousy would pay off eventually.
Christian Ehrhoff (LAK) on waivers.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) February 10, 2016
First things first, why did the Kings waive him? Jewels from the Crown explains:
Ehrhoff wasn't all bad; he scored at a higher rate than any defenseman outside the Kings' big three, after all. But the German was on the ice for an inordinate amount of goals against (leading defensemen in goals against/60) and took an inordinate amount of penalties (more penalties/60 than anyone aside from Derek Forbort). Ehrhoff was the victim of poor percentages (963 PDO), but that only explains the goals against.
For most of yesterday's game Ehrhoff looked slow to react and lacked confidence in his own zone; those symptoms plagued Ehrhoff enough this year that the Kings decided to make a move. With a relatively low price tag and a skillset which could help a team lacking defensive depth, there's a very good chance Ehrhoff will be picked up. If so, it'll be an inauspicious ending to Ehrhoff's LA career.
Ehrhoff certainly isn't the same player that he once was when he was playing with the Canucks, but he still has good possession stats and, let's be honest, he's better than a few of other blue line options that the Oilers currently employ. He also costs the team nothing to acquire beyond what's left on the one-year, $1.5M deal that he signed with the Kings this summer. The biggest drawback is that Ehrhoff is a left handed shoot, but he's played the right side in the past so if the team were looking for someone with NHL experience to help keep Darnell Nurse's head above water for the next couple months (and they should be) Ehrhoff would fit right in.
About the only reason not to put in a claim (besides tanking which I refuse to accept as a reason to do anything after a decade of losing) would be to allow the team to take on an extra contract in a future trade; the Oilers currently have 49 players under contract, claiming Ehrhoff would put them at the limit. Admittedly, having the flexibility to swing a one-for-two deal is nice but if the Oilers need to open up a roster spot to make a deal they can always throw in Kale Kessy and swap fifth round picks if need be. In other words, being at 50 contract really shouldn't be a problem for the Oilers between now and the deadline.
Would I put in a claim for Ehrhoff? You had me at defenceman.