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Islanders acquire Ehrhoff's rights from Canucks

Looking to get a jumpstart on free agency, the New York Islanders acquired the rights to pending unrestricted free agent Christian Ehrhoff from the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday night in exchange for a fourth-round draft pick.

Ehrhoff, who turns 29 on July 6, had 50 points in 79 games for the Canucks this season. The 6-foot-2, 203-pound blueliner also went 2-10-12 in 23 postseason contests.

A former fourth-round draft choice of the San Jose Sharks (No. 106 in 2001), Ehrhoff has posted back-to-back 14 goal seasons with Vancouver. If signed, he would immediately become the Isles' No. 2 defenseman behind Mark Streit. Ehrhoff has 53 goals and 173 assists in 500 NHL games.

The Islanders now have exclusive negotiating rights with Ehrhoff until noon on Friday, when the free agency market officially opens. Ehrhoff was a $3.1 million cap hit over his three-year deal with the Canucks.

The trade came down just hours after the Canucks announced they signed defenseman Kevin Bieksa to a five-year extension. Bieska's deal is worth a reported $23 million.

Follow Brian Compton on Twitter: @BComptonNHL