Enroth finally gets nod in SSK win

Playing in his first SEL game since December 8th, SSK's Jhonas Enroth made 33 saves to earn a 4-3 OT win over Frolunda. The high-profile Enroth appeared in 17 of his team's first 27 games, but had not faced a shot in the half dozen outings since bringing home World Junior silver. One of those was missed due to a fever and a sore neck. The outstanding play of Bjorn Bjurling (EDM) in his absence was responsible for the rest. A week ago, a frustrated Enroth told a Swedish television station that he "needed to play soon." (non-English link) In between Elitserien starts, both the 5'11 Swede and Sabres GM Darcy Regier spoke of the plan to get him signed to a deal after the SEL season. When asked, Enroth hasn't been shy about believing in his abilities to be an NHL goaltender. The patient fan would like to view the signing of 19-year old Enroth as an event completely independent of a possible contract extension for Ryan Miller, 27. The Sabres will likely keep very close tabs on Enroth throughout year one, though. The uncapped days of Cliff Fletcher's "draft schmaft" philosophy are over with, and expectations for the netminder are high. Plus, the age for unrestricted free agency is getting younger, and teams like Buffalo will want to get the most use of their picks while the salaries are manageable. If Enroth quickly demonstrates the maturity, skills and stamina necessary, one might wonder how the Sabres handle negotiations with one of their current pillars in Miller. The initial inclination would suggest business as usual for the Sabres, as if Enroth isn't even in the system. You never know what the decision will be from Seymour Knox Plaza, though. When asked to share his thoughts about next years camp competition, Ryan Miller told the Buffalo News, "If he wants to come over and try his skills, if he thinks he’s ready, the job’s open every year. You’ve got to prove yourself." While the likely route for Enroth involves some time in the AHL, the job as heir-apparent to Miller is wide open. Right now, the second-round pick in 2006 looks to have the inside track.
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