NHL.com ran their 30 in 30 series on the Buffalo Sabres yesterday and there Twitter poll asked fans who they thought would be the most productive center on the Sabres next season: Cody Hodgson, Tyler Ennis, Mikhail Grigorenko, or Steve Ott.
55% of respondents had Ennis as the most productive center on the team. While that number isn't truly shocking considering that there are only two real centers on that list that are expected to be the most productive on the team, it does lend one question to be asked. What are fans expecting out of Ennis in the upcoming season?
Last season, Ennis had 34 points, 15 goals and 19 assists, in an injury shortened season of 48 games. When you extrapolate out those numbers to a full season, he would have scored 58 points. Ennis really struggled in the first half of the season though, playing in only 15 games before January 31st. In those 15 games, Ennis had three goals and two assists. Using basic math, that would leave Ennis with 12 goals and 17 assists in the final 33 games of the season. That works out to almost a point per game, .879 points/game, to close out the season. Most of those games came with Marcus Foligno and Drew Stafford and it is expected that those three will start the season together on a line.If Ennis could have kept that pace up for the entire season, he would have had 30 goals and 42 points in the season.
So what is a decent number to expect out of Ennis for the 2012-2013 season? Expecting him to continue the torrid pace that he had with Foligno and Stafford seems foolish because at some point in the season, opponents will figure out a way to shut them down. Plus, 33 games is still a small sample size when projecting out an entire season. We have never seen Ennis score more than 50 points in a season, considering that in his only full season in the NHL he had 49. Based on his career point per game projections, Ennis would probably have somewhere between 50-55 points in a season.
Those numbers seem reasonable a number two center on a team. For the most productive center though, those shouldn't be acceptable numbers and the reasons why, I'll touch on tomorrow. For the time being though, what kind of numbers are you expecting out of Tyler Ennis for the 2012-2013 season? Vote in our poll and then tell us your reasoning in the comments.