Will Ehrhoff stay or go?

The Christian Ehrhoff storyline has not changed much, but with the Canucks getting pending unrestricted free agent Kevin Bieksa locked up in a new contract the picture gets all that much clearer.

Bieksa’s five-year deal, which averages $4.6 million, reinforces the notion the Canucks want to use top defenceman Dan Hamhuis and his $4.5-million cap hit as the standard for the team’s blue line.

With B.C. native Hamhuis and longtime Canuck Bieksa taking less to sign with Vancouver, it’s clear that Ehrhoff — also a pending UFA — will need to do the same if he’s to be here in the fall.

With Montreal defenceman Andrei Markov recently signing a three-year deal with cap hit of $5.75 million to avoid free agency on July 1, the bar may also have been set for UFA blueliners.

Markov’s signing puts Ehrhoff in great position as arguably the top offensive D-man and one of the top defencemen overall — along with Joni Pitkanen and James Wisniewski — left on the upcoming UFA market.

Read more: http://www.theprovince.com/sports/Will+Ehrhoff+stay/5014189/story.html#ixzz1Qa0euCdW