When the Los Angeles Kings got Christian Ehrhoff on the cheap in August, it was lauded by many (and by us) as a smart signing. In fact, I don't think I saw anyone complaining about the contract, which was $1.5 million for a single season. However, there were doubters for two reasons: Ehrhoff's concussion history, and a potential inability for fit into the Kings' system, which requires defenders to take care of their own zone even as puck-movers. After half a season of play, it appears those doubters were at least partially right; Ehrhoff stayed healthy, but he's been placed on waivers.
Christian Ehrhoff (LAK) on waivers.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) February 10, 2016
Back in October, Sheng noted a third issue: Darryl Sutter expected the Vancouver version of Christian Ehrhoff. The Kings were never going to get that. At the very least, they were probably expecting good possession numbers. Ehrhoff's 54.9% Corsi For at even strength was certainly adequate, but it was worse than any defenseman's aside from Alec Martinez, who is getting by far the most defensive zone starts on the team. By contrast, Ehrhoff's ratio of offensive-to-defensive zone starts was higher than anyone's aside from Jamie McBain.
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.
However, Ehrhoff penalties like this one last night must have just killed Sutter pic.twitter.com/677h0UUMJH— Sheng Peng (@Sheng_Peng) February 10, 2016
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. If not, he's back in Ontario, and I think he'll probably return to LA if the Kings get dissatisfied with Jamie McBain.
This move could potentially create some room for the Kings to acquire another defenseman, which has been rumored to happen both before and after LA picked up Luke Schenn. For now, though, it's Kevin Gravel. We wrote about Gravel over the summer, shortly after he received his first NHL contract. As Robyn mentioned, he was next in line for a call-up after McBain, Schultz, and Forbort; with the first already in LA and the other two being underwhelming with their NHL stints this season, Gravel's strong play in Ontario has earned him a shot. He may not get into a game, but it's a nice reward.