Christian Ehrhoff > Matt Niskanen. FACT.
The Penguins got a bargain in the initial moments of free agency when Ehrhoff signed a one-year, $4m deal with the club.
Ehrhoff has financial security: He got bought out of the last seven years of his 10-year, $40m deal with Buffalo. The Sabres will pay Ehrhoff $857,143 every year through 2028. That’s a nice little annuity.
Ehrhoff took a short-term deal to try to win. If Ehrhoff has a great season in Pittsburgh, he can cash in big come July 1, 2015.
Ehrhoff was minus-27 last year. That’s because he was a good player on the league’s worst team. Ehrhoff had six goals and 27 assists. He moves the puck well, he’s good on the power play and he’s better than Niskanen.
At any moment now, Niskanen will sign for too much, and for too long. Niskanen has played eight NHL seasons. He’s had one good one.
I thought the Penguins had enough to pick from on defense. But Ehrhoff is a steal at that price. Perhaps that puts Paul Martin in play.
If not, the Penguins’ top four includes Ehrhoff, Martin, Kris Letang and Olli Maatta. Not bad. (Maatta, of course, will not be ready at season’s start thanks to shoulder surgery.) Rob Scuderi is the No. 5 or 6.  That leaves two roster spots for everybody else.
Good start. But the Penguins need forwards. See below.

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