The Vancouver Canucks have added a lot of depth to their blueline in a short period of time. The team has acquired defencemen Christian Ehrhoff and Brad Lukowich from the San Jose Sharks in exchange for defenceman Daniel Rahimi and forward Patrick White. Vancouver also announced on Friday that they have inked veteran defenceman Mathieu Schneider to a one-year, $1.55 million contract.
The moves will help backfill a Canuck blueline that lost veteran workhorse Mattias Ohlund to the Tampa Bay Lightning as a free agent on July 1.
In 77 games for the Sharks last season, Ehrhoff counted eight goals and 34 assists. He will be entering his sixth NHL season after playing his entire career in San Jose. The 27-year old was a fourth-round choice of the Sharks in the 2001 draft. He has two years remaining on a three-year deal that he signed as a restricted free agent with San Jose in the summer of 2008.
Lukowich, a 33-year old native of Cranbrook, B.C., recorded eight assists in 58 games for San Jose last year. He is an 11-year NHL veteran who was originally a fourth-round pick of the New York Islanders in 1994. He won the Stanley Cup as a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2004.
We are pleased to be adding Christian and Brad to our defensive group," said Mike Gillis in a press release. "Defence has been an area we wanted to add skill and depth to and this trade has strengthened our group considerably."
In exchange, the Canucks give up a pair of recent draft picks. Rahimi was selected in the third round in 2006, and played the last two seasons with the Manitoba Moose of the AHL. White was Vancouver's first round pick (25th overall) in 2007, and played last season for the University of Minnesota.
The deal allows the Sharks to clear some significant salary cap space for the coming season.
"This trade speaks to the confidence we have in the young players coming up through our system who have earned the right to compete for a spot on this team," said Sharks general manager Doug Wilson in a release.
At the age of 40, Schneider will be joining his ninth club over 19 seasons in the league. The veteran split last season between the Montreal Canadiens and the Atlanta Thrashers, and scored a combined nine goals and 23 assists in 64 games. Originally drafted by the Canadiens in 1987, Schneider has a long resume that includes a Stanley Cup win with the Habs in 1993, along with appearances in two Olympics and two World Cups for Team USA.