2011-2012 Buffalo Sabres Report Cards: Matt Ellis

ANAHEIM, CA - FEBRUARY 29: Goaltender Ryan Miller #30 of the Buffalo Sabres makes a save, as teammate Matt Ellis #37 defends Niklas Hagman #12 of the Anaheim Ducks in the second period at Honda Center on February 29, 2012 in Anaheim, California. The Sabres defeated the Ducks 2-0. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

With the 2011-12 Buffalo Sabres ending in disappointment and after a few weeks for us to gather our thoughts, it's time for us to issue our report cards on the season. Over the next few weeks, we'll grade every player that wore a Buffalo Sabres uniform in 2011 and 2012, from Luke Adam to Mike Weber.

2011 - Matt Ellis 60 3 5 8 -3 25 0 0 1 85 3.5

Introduction: Matt Ellis is one of those players that you have to admire because no matter what game it is in the regular season, whether it be the first, the last, or a random game in the middle of January, Matt Ellis brings his 'A' game to the ice. Ellis' 'A' game may not be the flashiest thing on the ice nor the prettiest thing but as a fan you know that he is leaving everything on the ice.

In terms of the offensive production, eight points isn't going to break the bank much. In fact, I probably would bet you that you didn't realize that Ellis played in 60 of 82 games this season. Ellis is signed through next season for an affordable rate, but the contract becomes a one-way contract in the final year.

Key Stat: 27-33. Fans have an allure that when Matt Ellis is in the lineup, the Sabres have a tendency to win the game. This season, the Sabres had a losing record with Ellis in the lineup, mainly because Ellis was out of the lineup during the two bright spots of the season. Ellis' first game was October 25th against the Tampa Bay Lightning and he played until March 10th against the Senators.

Thumbs Up: As mentioned in the introduction, Ellis is that grinding type of player that a coach doesn't have to worry about on the roster. Most of Ellis' minutes this season came with Patrick Kaleta and Paul Gaustad and when Gaustad left the lines were switched around to Cody McCormick and Brad Boyes. Those linemates aren't going to produce a bunch of points, but it is going to make sure that the opponent is shut down.

Thumbs Down: There really isn't much of a negative to Ellis' game because there isn't much to be expected out of him. Ellis' -3 on the season is a career low when playing more than 20 games. His eight points is a career low when playing more than 20 games as well. Ellis isn't expected to be an offensive juggernaut though and his 45.4% offensive zone starts, good for third lowest among players who have played more than five games, affirms that sentiment.

Voting: On a scale of one to ten, one being the lowest and ten being the highest, grade Christian Ehrhoff 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.

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