Matt Ellis: 2009-2010 Report Card

It's time to put the finishing touches on the 2009-2010 season for the Buffalo Sabres. Here is a complete report card of every single player that played any amount of time with the Sabres this season. The journey will begin with Chris Butler and conclude in almost a month with Thomas Vanek. Thanks to Japers Rink and Mile High Hockey for the inspiration.

It's Matt Ellis' turn.


Matt Ellis

#37 / Left Wing / Buffalo Sabres

6-0

212

Aug 31, 1981

Contract Situation: $500,000 cap hit in 2010; UFA this summer

2009 Grade: B



2010 Statistics GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT

Regular Season

Playoffs

72

3

3

1

10

0

13

1

-1

1

12

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

112

5

2.7

20


Introduction: Matt Ellis embodies many qualities that a role player should represent - leadership, toughness, unselfishness and work ethic. Buffalo, his third NHL club, seems to be the smoothest fit for the gritty forward after the cups of coffee he experienced with the Detroit Red Wings and Los Angeles Kings. As an undrafted freelancer, Ellis' dossier in the American Hockey League and tenacity to remain in the National Hockey League is the material coaches search for.

Key Stat: Ellis reached new highs in assists and points, doing it with the least average amount of ice time among all Sabres during the regular season - 9:03 per game.

Stimulating Stat: Despite the criminally low minutes, Ellis registered 112 shots in 72 games - ninth most on the club. By playing it safe, he doesn't waste time testing a goaltender's glove, pad, blocker etc. "You miss 100 per cent of the shots you don't take." - Wayne Gretzky

Famous For: Scoring a pretty goal in Game 2 of the first-round series with the Boston Bruins. How often will Ellis get to smirk about producing more tallies than Derek Roy and Tim Connolly? Bragging rights do count in the off-season.

Thumbs Up: The 28-year-old wasn't goaded into taking stupid, meaningless penalties, as he spent a total of 12 minutes in the box between the regular campaign and postseason. He was a healthy scratch for ten games and played with the worst quality of teammates, but didn't complain. Due to his lack of shifts, he actually had a goals per 60 minutes ratio that was above six teammates, as was his points per 60 minutes and the assists comparison was closer to the middle of the group. Again, the shots on goal are encouraging because that strategy can never be frowned upon. In the face-off circle, he won half of his draws which was 0.4 per cent less than Derek Roy, who took almost 1,000 more attempts. With his percentage being the fourth highest, some penalty-killing here and there might bolster his game. One of the few forwards with more takeaways (18) than giveaways (11). For all of the people that might remember his last 2010 moment as Johnny Boychuk's victim to a crushing check, I'll prefer to cite Ellis' standing up and skating to the bench on his own two feet.

Thumbs Down: Perhaps this will illustrate why Ellis' minutes were so petite. He didn't look as comfortable in his first full season with Buffalo as he did in the 45 games of 2009 (12 points that year, but just 13 points in 27 more matches). Throwing 34 hits and blocking 20 shots is unacceptable for a lower-line checker. While the lack of opportunity certainly explains part of it, he must get more involved defensively and physically. Patrick Kaleta, who saw a minute and change of extra ice time routinely, punished way more people with the body and blocked more shots. And if Drew Stafford and Jochen Hecht can swing away with their fists, Ellis surely can do it multiple times through a campaign.

Voting: On a scale of one to ten, one being the lowest and ten being the highest, grade Matt Ellis on his season according to the expectations you had for him. If he met them, give him a five or a six. If he eclipsed them, aim for a seven or beyond. If he failed to meet them, give him a lower number relating to how poorly he missed the target.

Topics Of Discussion: As as an upcoming free agent, the question must asked if he should be re-signed or let go. What do you think? Do you believe Ellis should have received penalty-killing time with his face-off percentage and impressive takeaways-giveaways ratio? What can he do for the purpose of earning more shifts? Which line-mates does he or could he bloom with in your opinion?

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