On Thursday, the Buffalo Sabres announced that they had signed restricted free agent forward Tyler Ennis to a new contract. Although terms were not disclosed, it is reportedly for five years and $23 million, with an annual cap hit of $4.6 million.
The 24-year-old Ennis led the Sabres with a career high 21 goals last season. He also ranked second on the team with 43 points. The Sabres selected the diminutive (5’9”) center in the first round (26th overall) of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. In 267 career NHL games, he has accumulated 69 goals and 166 points; adding eight points in 13 career postseason contests.
Prior to becoming a full-time NHL player, Ennis found success at every level. In 2010, he won the Red Garrett Memorial Award as the AHL’s top rookie. In 2009, he scored seven points in six games to help Canada win gold at the World Junior Championship. In 2007, he won a WHL Championship with the Medicine Hat Tigers.
Last season, the Buffalo Sabres finished with the worst record in the NHL, trading away both of their co-captains (Thomas Vanek and Steve Ott) and their longtime starting goaltender (Ryan Miller). This summer, they have been busy further rebuilding their roster. They bought out both defenseman Christian Ehrhoff and forward Ville Leino. With the second overall selection in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, they picked up Samson Reinhart.
They also were very busy on the first day of free agency (July 1). The Sabres brought back two former Sabres in Matt Moulson and Cody McCormick. They signed defenseman Andrej Meszaros. They also brought in a duo of former Montreal Canadiens, signing former Habs captain Brian Gionta and trading for defenseman Josh Gorges. A native New Yorker, Gionta is very excited about the opportunity.
“This was my childhood team growing up and it’s a dream to play for them and put on the jersey. I can’t wait until September comes,” said Gionta. “We’re confident that we can come here and be a part of something big. That’s our expectation: to come here and field a winning team. I think we’re putting the pieces in place and we’re excited to be a part of that.”