Sabres Report Cards: Tyler Ennis
After a disappointing season, what’s next for Tyler Ennis?
The season is over, and we’re going to rate every player who played more than 20 games this season on their performance the same way we were all graded back in the day - on a report card scale of A to F. We’re taking a look at everyone from Bailey to Rodrigues in our 2016-17 Buffalo Sabres Report Cards.
Contract: Cap hit of $4.6 million, signed through 2018-19 season.
Introduction: Tyler Ennis has been a polarizing figure in Buffalo over the last two seasons. Sabres fans of yore remember an exciting, dynamic player who drove offense and would give defenders fits with his combination of quick hands and fast feet.
But if you’ve only watched games over the last two seasons, all you’ve seen from Ennis is an overpaid player who can’t stay healthy and isn’t very productive when he’s on the ice (though he can make a mean sandwich sauce.) Thanks to his contract, there’s a very good chance that Ennis will still in Buffalo next year, and we’ll get to see if a new coach and a new system can help Enzo find his on-ice sauce once again.
Key Stat: Ennis ranks second-worst among regular Sabres forwards this season in cost-per-point. With just five goals and eight assists in his 51 games, and taking into consideration his $4.6 million cap hit, each point that Ennis scored this season cost the Pegula family $353,846. To put that in perspective, the also-overpaid Matt Moulson scored at a clip of a mere $156,250, a relative bargain when compared to Enzo.
Thumbs Up: Honestly, there’s not much to say here. I guess it was nice to see Ennis stay healthy enough to play in 51 games, he doesn’t take too many penalties (just six this year) and his Corsi number is decent enough at 48.78, but there’s not many other positives to Ennis’ game right now.
Thumbs Down: Ennis looked lost for much of this season offensively, constantly trying to outskate guys he can’t get around, deke through defenseman who weren’t fooled, and generally not performing like the player he was back in 2015 when he topped 20 goals. Curiously, Ennis scored only three points on the power play - the NHL’s best power play - despite regular time, and that ain’t a very good number for someone who’s supposed to be a key offensive contributor.
The struggles Ennis has faced the past two years are exacerbated by two things: first, he contributes almost nothing defensively, and second, his contract. While it looked good coming off of back-to-back 20+ goal seasons, it’s looking worse and worse as Ennis continues to struggle to produce.
If a new coach and a new system can revitalize Ennis’ career, that would go a long way towards getting this team into the playoffs next year. If not, his contract will hang like an anchor around the team’s salary cap next offseason.
Memorable Moment: Ennis showed us a bit of the old magic on this game-tying goal against the Devils. After bringing the puck into the zone with some speed, Ennis put a sweet spin-o-rama move on Dalton Prout and somehow found a hole to get the puck past Cory Schneider. And you can’t teach that.
Voting: Using the good old grade school system of A, B, C, D, F, with a grade of A representing a great season, a grade of C being the performance you expected, and F a very poor season, rate Tyler Ennis on his performance this year.
Grade Tyler Ennis on his 2016-17 season.