2015-16 Buffalo Sabres Grades: Tyler Ennis
The Buffalo Sabres 2015-16 season featured plenty of new faces that helped the team finally dig their way out of the league basement. We're grading everybody who played at least 20 games for the Sabres this year, from Bogosian to Ullmark.
Contract: $4.6 million, under contract through 2018-19
Introduction: It'd be easy to make the argument that Ennis had the toughest season of any Sabre. He missed the final four months of the year after suffering a concussion due to a hit from Alex Ovechkin on Dec. 30. That held Ennis to 23 games this season, the fewest games he's played in a season since his rookie year.
Even when Ennis did play, he didn't look like he did the past two seasons, when he broke the 20-goal plateau each time. He scored only three goals, making more mental mistakes than we're used to seeing from him.
Key Stat: Ennis' shooting percentage this season fell to 5.3%, around half of his career average of 10.5%. There's a number of reasons why Ennis' game fell off a cliff this year, but that's a big one.
Thumbs Up: It would be easy to dismiss this year as a lost one for Ennis, and since he wasn't getting on the ice at the end of the season he has the summer to get back to 100 percent. Ennis was arguably the Sabres' best player during the Ted Nolan era, and if he can regain that ability he'd be a nice top six player alongside the tools the Sabres have gathered.
As for his stats, Ennis did manage 2.5 shots per game, which was tied for third on the Sabres among the regulars.
Thumbs Down: Pretty much everything else. Ennis was expected to be a big contributor in the top six after leading the Sabres offense over the past two seasons, but he never found chemistry with his linemates and his game just seemed to be off every night. And if Ennis isn't putting up points and creating offense, he doesn't really offer anything else to the team. He's an OK defender thanks to his quick stick, but he doesn't hit, kill penalties, or block shots, and Enzo was awful defensively at home, going -12 in 13 home games. On to next season.
Memorable Moment: When Ennis does score, he tends to make them count, as he did with this spinning, falling goal against the Flyers early in the season.
Voting: Using the good old grade school system of A, B, C, D, F, with A representing a great season (for the Sabres) C an average season, and F a very poor season, grade Tyler Ennis on his performance this year.
Grade Tyler Ennis on his 2015-16 season.