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Behind The Bench: Tyler Ennis

by on 07/26/2011

Born: October 6, 1989
Ht: 5’9″
Wt: 163 lbs
Draft: 26th overall by the Buffalo Sabres in 2008
Plays for: Buffalo Sabres, Left Wing, Shoots Left
Jersey NO.: #63

NHL Stats

Regular Season: 92 GP – 23 G – 35 A – 58 P
Playoffs: 13 GP – 3 G – 5 A – 8 P

“I want to go in the first round, it’s been a goal of mine to go in the first round. You know, It’s exciting, I watched a lot of my friends go in the first round last year, so I kind of want to do the same thing this year so, I set a goal for myself.”
-Tyler Ennis’ thoughts on when he’d like to be drafted in the 2008 Draft

Despite turning in a team-leading 91 points during his draft year, Ennis was ranked 31st in Central Scouting’s final report. Thankfully for him, all his work paid off when the Buffalo Sabres drafted him 26th overall. Ennis would spend his final season with the Medicine Hat Tigers, he was limited to 61 games but still posted 85 points. It should be noted this was the first time in his career that Ennis posted more goals (43) then assists (42). He also played in 11 WHL playoff games and tallied 19 points.

At the conclusion of his WHL season, the Sabres signed Ennis to a three-year ELC. Ennis was assigned to the Sabres AHL affiliate the Portland Pirates for the 09/10 season, where he scored close to a point per game. Ennis scored 23 goals and 42 assists in his first pro season. He finished his AHL season tied for the goal scoring lead and was named the AHL top rookie by the AHL coaches, players and media.

After Tim Connolly went down with injury, Ennis was the first player recalled and finished the 09/10 season playing in the final 9 games of the season for the Sabres, where he ended his NHL regular season with 9 points in 10 games. Ennis had a brief one game stint with the Sabres earlier in the season, where he scored his first NHL goal. He would play in all 6 games for the Sabres and finished tied with Jason Pominville with a team-leading 4 points.

Ennis opened the 10/11 season with a bang. In the first 3 games of the season, he had 4 assists and a +4 rating. Ennis went on to post great numbers for an undersized forward in his first season. He would finish the season with 20 goals, 29 assists and 49 points, good enough to finish 5th in team scoring, 4th in team assists, 4th in team goal scoring, 4th in even strength points and tied for 3rd in power play points. Ennis also finished 4th in rookie scoring.

It’s unfortunate that Ennis’ great rookie season will be followed by an average sophomore season due to circumstance. With the offseason signing of Ville Leino, Ennis is now relegated to third line and with a healthy top 6, it is unlikely Ennis will see much power play time. With both Thomas Vanek and Ville Leino locked up for the foreseeable future, it’s hard to picture Ennis moving into the top 6 in the next year or two unless head coach, Lindy Ruff, decides to either play him or one of Vanek or Leino on the right side. Both scenarios are highly unlikely, as the Sabres are deep on both wings. On the right side they have Brad Boyes, Jason Pominville and Drew Stafford in their top 9. It could very well be a few more years until Ennis makes a significant impact.

Ennis is a speedy winger with a lot of creativity and patience with the puck. Ennis uses his speed to beat a lot of defenders wide and has the stickhandling skills to beat them one-on-one. He will also use his tremendous agility and balance to confuse defenders as well. Ennis is able to stop and spin on a dime and can cause defenders to lose their balance trying to keep him under control. Despite his small stature, Ennis is not afraid to go into traffic and compete with larger defenders. As showcased in his playoff series with the Boston Bruins and the Philadelphia Flyers, he won’t shy away from being hit to make plays. He’s an expert at using his size to his advantage, he’ll slip through coverage effortlessly and magically appear in open ice to score a big goal.

Ennis is a pure offensive player. He has a quick and very accurate wrist shot and is very good at dishing his teammates the puck. He is a very intelligent player, who will hold onto a puck until a play develops rather than throw it around the boards. He is often critized as being a selfish player who likes to posses the puck but his assists prove that he is very effective in setting up his teammates. Ennis does not play a mistake free type of hockey. In the past, his mistakes have led to momentum changing goals.

Ennis is not a highly dependable player in his own zone and shouldn’t be looked at to shutdown players. He is the type of player you have on the ice to create chances and score goals.

The video below highlights why Tyler Ennis will be a great player in the future.

Behind The Bench appears Monday to Friday only on puckpuckgoose.com.

Edited by: John Jasinski
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