Tyler Ennis isn’t (currently at least) the leading scorer of the Buffalo Sabres. Tyler Ennis isn’t the tallest or the shortest player of the Buffalo Sabres. However, Tyler Ennis is the lone player of the Buffalo Sabres at this weekend’s All Star Game in Raleigh, NC.
Ennis will be part of the NHL Rookie Skills Competition along with team captain Logan Couture of San Jose, Michael Grabner of the Islanders, Carolina’s Jamie McBain, Montreal’s P.K. Subban, and Boston’s Tyler Seguin. They are all part of Carolina’s own Eric Staal’s team competing in the SuperSkills Competition Saturday night. With Ennis’ speed and shooting accuracy being two of his strengths, you should certainly look for him to partake in any events involving him showcasing those talents.
There are a number of facts about the latest diminutive forward donning the Blue & Gold thought that many fans outside of Buffalo probably don’t know. Ennis, an Edmonton, AB native, was drafted 26th overall in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft by the Sabres. At that time he was listed at 5’9″ and roughly 146 pounds. Currently he is listed at the same height as he was in his draft year, but he currently weighs eleven pounds more (depending on what site you look at), clocking in at 157 pounds.
Ennis’ skill was evident during his pre-draft year as he won numerous accolades during his playing time with the Medicine Hat Tigers, including being named to the 2008 Eastern Conference First All-Star Team. Despite being undrafted in the 2004 WHL Bantam Draft, he finished second in the 2008 WHL scoring race with 43 goals. This performance no doubt helped his draft status for 2008.
After scoring his first career NHL goal in his first career NHL game on November 14, 2009 against Philadelphia, Ennis has continued to silence critics about his stature. During the 2009-2010 NHL playoffs, Ennis excelled despite playing against the likes of Zdeno Chara and Milan Lucic, scoring 4 points in the six game series against the Boston Bruins.
Prior to his breakout performance in last year’s playoffs, Ennis had a great deal of success at the AHL level. In fact, during the 2010 AHL All Star Game, he was the MVP for his three-point-performance in the Canadian team’s winning effort. Ennis’ performance was so good on a whole during the 2009-2010 AHL season that he was named the AHL Rookie of the Year. With that accomplishment he joined several other former and current Sabres players to earn that honor, including Nathan Gerbe (2009), Daniel Briere (1998), and Roger Crozier (1964).
While many hockey fans may recognize the other Tyler, defenseman Tyler Myers that is, also drafted in 2008 by the Sabres, Ennis is the one that team has become to depend upon even more with several injuries of late to their top 6 forwards. In fact, in the 49 games Ennis has played in thus far during the 2010-2011 season, he has 12 goals and 16 assists. His 28 points are good for a tie with Jason Pominville for third on the team. Ennis is 13 points behind team leader Thomas Vanek, but his 12 goals are only six behind Vanek for the team lead. Buffalo will continue to depend upon Ennis’ draft-mates to boost its offense, as Ennis, Myers, and forward Luke Adam will look to carry a team hindered by injuries and inconsistencies.
If the Buffalo Sabres’ brass had a time machine and if they actually cared about how many players represented their club at the All Star Game this weekend, they would certainly take full advantage of that opportunity. If the event were held last year, there would certainly be more players donning the Blue & Gold (read Myers, Tyler & Miller, Ryan). More importantly, the team and its fans should be proud to send such an extremely hard working, young talent to the festivities.
Best of luck Tyler!