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Travis Ehrhardt

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Position: Defense

Shoots: Left

Vitals: 6'0'' / 197 lbs.

Birthdate: April 12, 1987

Hometown: Calgary, Alberta

Acquired: Signed as a free agent by Detroit in July 2009

CSS Ranking: 202nd North American skater (2007)

Contract: 2012

RWC Says: Depth Defenseman


"He can skate the puck out of trouble, which is a good. His upside is his skating and his size and (making) a good first pass out of his zone. He really has no problem with the physical aspects (of the AHL) or the speed in terms of defending." — Griffins general manager Bob McNamara (April 2010).


Good skater and puck-mover ... Stocky with good strength ... Hard point shot.


Decision-making with puck needs work at the pro level ... Has good skills but doens't produce much ... Plays a simple game and doesn't have a great deal of NHL upside.


Ehrhardt was mostly signed for depth purposes but the Red Wings also like what he has to offer. His next step is to find his way into an AHL lineup on a nightly basis.

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RWC Report: Ehrhardt eases into the pros

By Matthew Wuest – RedWingsCentral.com / April 13, 2010

The Detroit Red Wings have had success dipping into the free agent pool over the years, and Travis Ehrhardt is their latest project.

The Red Wings, who have graduated eight undrafted free-agent prospect signings to the NHL over the past 11 years, signed Ehrhardt in July after he completed a solid five-year career in the Western Hockey League.

The 5-foot-11, 203-pound blueliner was scoreless with five assists and a minus-9 in 42 games with the Grand Rapids Griffins this season and was moved in and out of the lineup as an American Hockey League rookie.

"He can skate the puck out of trouble, which is a good," said Griffins general manager Bob McNamara. "His upside is his skating and his size and (making) a good first pass out of his zone. He really has no problem with the physical aspects (of the AHL) or the speed in terms of defending."

Ehrhardt, who hails from Calgary, was never a high scorer in the WHL. His best totals came at age 19 in 2007-08 with Moose Jaw and Portland, when he compiled 10 goals and 31 assists for 41 points in 72 games.

The biggest thing with Ehrhardt — as with most defensemen out of junior — is learning that what worked in the WHL won't in the AHL.

"He's had to learn to make better decisions with the puck and make safer plays," McNamara said. "All these kids come out of junior and they're able to do what they want with the puck … Carry the puck, pass the puck through the middle … When they get to the pros, those gaps close a lot quicker.

"He's kind of had to learn to make the safer play."

Ehrhardt also played three games in the East Coast Hockey League with the Toledo Walleye, collecting a goal and an assist in three games.

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27 Travis Ehrhardt: If Tatar’s the most muscle-bound player due to his shorter stature, the straight-six-foot-tall Ehrhardt is bloody close. He’s also a more defensively-minded defenseman and just does his job without fuss or flourish, hits well, and at least among the prospects, he showed that he could play on the PK or easily pinch in on the PP because he makes smart outlet passes and has a solid shot to back up his fine skating ability and superb work ethic. He wants to crack the Griffins’ top four, and to move forward, that’s exactly what he has to do this year, even if Doug Janik and Derek Meech are there in front of him…


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27 Travis Ehrhardt

Pluses: Ehrhardt’s biggest asset is the fact that he’s ridiculously strong, Lumberjack strong, to the point that he pushes people around and plays an incredibly tenacious game almost without effort, as if it’s as natural as can be to turn into someone on a routine body check and completely take them out of the play because you can very legally mash a puck-carrier into the boards or send them flailing as you swipe the puck away and send it back up the ice—or, more often, to a teammate. When Ehrhardt has stick or body position on someone, they are not passing go, they’re not collecting $200. They’re surrendering the puck to a player whose immense strength belies his 6,’ 200-lb size, and that puck’s going to find its way onto a teammate’s stick.

That last part is what separates Ehrhardt from your average stay-at-home defenseman. When he separates an opponent from the puck, Ehrhardt takes possession and control of said puck and does more than clear it out of trouble. He passes it to a teammate, usually his defensive partner, to get play moving the other way, and he both passes and does just about everything else with a professional hockey player’s level of urgency and execution.

Ehrhardt’s skating is pretty good, with his mobility out-ranking his speed, his passing is very good, his shot’s hard and low and he sees the ice well, but even more than his overwhelming strength and superb defensive savvy, it’s his malleability that will very likely allow him to crack the Griffins’ top four this season.

Need a penalty-killer? Ehrhardt’s your man. He’ll poke-check passes away and get in shooting lanes, box out his opponents and aggressively clear the crease. Need a power play specialist in a pinch? Ehrhardt will allow a more offensively talented defenseman to take chances while providing a solid, if not sometimes savvy outlet and an innate ability to break up odd-man rushes against. Need somebody to simply play as a #4, #5, or #6 defenseman, offering no-frills and sometimes nasty defensive hockey with at least the skill set to keep up with his more offensively-talented brethren? Ehrhardt fits in perfectly.

Minuses: Again, he does many things well, but his skill set is not elite in terms of skating, passing, shooting or hockey sense, and while he is already Bull Moose strong, he still needs to pack on a few more pounds of core strength muscle and take Andy Weidenbach’s skating drills to heart to improve his efficiency.

Potential “upside”: Think a poor man’s Brad Stuart or Bob Rouse, or maybe an Andreas Lilja-style third pair defenseman. If he continues to work hard, fight his way up the Griffins’ depth chart and earns regular playing time in the top four, he can continue to develop into the kind of “stay at home” companion to an offensive defenseman on the second or third pair that is the Swiss Army Knife-type defenseman that every NHL team craves. He’s a talented utility defenseman who pushes people around without even trying.

Edited by titanium2

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