The Buffalo Sabres preseason is over and the regular season is less than one week away. Heading into this year it’s playoffs or bust for most fans, but is the roster talented enough for the Sabres to end its five year playoff drought?
As the regular season draws near, 7ABC will take a closer look at the training camp roster and put together our list of the “Top 20 Talents.”
Here’s the criteria on how the rankings will be established:
-Overall skill level
-Age, improving/declining ability
On to the countdown:
No. 7 LW Tyler Ennis
Why he’s here
The 2015 season was a nightmare for Buffalo Sabres forward Tyler Ennis. The 27-year-old veteran only played in 23 games after suffering multiple concussions. In the games he played, Ennis was a shell of the player he once was. In 2014, too many known as the ‘tank’ year, Ennis was arguably Buffalo’s best forward. There’s no denying the undersized forward is super skilled — but can he produce the numbers this season he did two seasons ago? I think he will.
During the preseason, Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said he liked how Ennis looked — but as we know, how a player performs in the preseason is a tough way to gauge of what’s to come. When training camp started, it was clear that Ennis looked bigger and stronger — something his teammates praised. Ennis will likely open the season on the Sabres top line paired with Ryan O’Reilly and Kyle Okposo. Over the years, Ennis has been accused of trying to do too much, because quite frankly, he hasn’t had any help. This year, he’s got that help. In 2015, although it was only 23 games, Ennis wasn’t able to build any chemistry with some of the Sabres new forwards. With a full season of work, if Ennis can stay healthy, it’s fair to expect bigger numbers and more production -- similar to what he finished with in both 2013 and 2014. Okposo and O’Reilly are quite possibly the most talented players Ennis has played with in his career, at least in Buffalo. If his offseason work proves to be successful and the players around him stay healthy, Ennis should look like the player Sabres fans hoped he for last season.
I think Tyler Ennis has oodles of talent — yes, oodles. In high-school I had a teacher who preached the KISS method. For those who don’t know, KISS is an acronym for Keep It Simple, Stupid. This season, Ennis needs to keep it simple. He’s playing with two incredibly talented players. If he doesn’t try to do too much offensively the goals and assists should come. What does doing too much mean, exactly? Sometimes it’s just simply dumping the puck into the zone, rather than trying to juke a defender at center ice. Other times, it’s continuing a cycle around the zone, opposed to taking a shot from an insane angle. This year, I’m expecting Ennis to finish the season with around 40 points, as long as he can stay healthy and a few players that just leave you speechless. You know what I’m talking about.
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