BOSTON – It wasn’t quite as obviously productive as his preseason debut when Christian Ehrhoff scored a goal for the Bruins against the Montreal Canadiens earlier last week, but the veteran D-man once again got the call on Saturday night. The German defenseman was playing in a pairing with Kevan Miller and was on the ice for the Bruins’ only goal in the 1-0 preseason overtime win against the Philadelphia Flyers in their preseason finale at TD Garden.
The 34-year-old played almost 20 minutes of ice time in the win and had a couple of shot attempts while showing off some pretty nifty offensive instincts moving the puck up the ice. Ehrhoff also lost some battles in the defensive zone and played a bit soft in some situations, particularly in the D-zone, where the Bruins need more fight from their defenders around the net.
It may be a bit of a trade-off with Ehrhoff, in camp with Boston on a veteran tryout but no contract to this point, given his high-end puck-moving ability and offensive instincts, but it also might not have necessarily been enough to beat out the seven D-men with one-way NHL contracts or hold off a talented, young Brandon Carlo.
“I thought overall I played pretty good,” said Ehrhoff, who came off the six-game World Cup experience with Team Europe riding the momentum that he hoped would win him an NHL job. “Today was a little bit of a battle at times, but I thought I did pretty well. For me it’s a chance to prove that I can still play in this league and I just took it day-by- day and tried to do my best out there. That’s what I did. I put it all on the line, and now I wait and see.”
The 6-foot-2, 201-pound Ehrhoff finished with two goals and 12 points in 48 games for the Kings and Blackhawks last season and was a minus-11 for those two teams while never securing a solid job with either team. Clearly, there’s talent still there along with some defensive issues that can be exploited in his own zone as there was evidence of Saturday night against the Flyers.
Now Ehrhoff waits as the Bruins brass get together and discuss their final roster with final waivers for players due on Monday, and final rosters due for each of the 30 NHL teams at the end of the day on Tuesday. Veteran forward Peter Mueller was in camp with the Bruins on a PTO agreement as well, and reported to Providence Bruins training camp after he was cut from main camp once the World Cup regulars returned to work.
It remains to be seen if Ehrhoff will play the same waiting game for the Bruins, who must decide if Ehrhoff represents an upgrade from some of the players, like Joe Morrow, currently pegged for NHL jobs in Boston.