Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Ennis inked, set to pivot in Portland

As expected, the Sabres today announced that Tyler Ennis has been signed to a three-year entry-level contract.
"I think if you look at him, he’s got some characteristics that are along the Derek Roy line," Head Coach Lindy Ruff said. "He can open people up, he can make some special plays and he’s a good player in real tight spaces. Obviously size is a factor but I think he’s been able to push through at every level so you hope he can continue to push through." So far in training camp, Ruff has put the the forward at center - anchoring a line between Matt Ellis and Jason Pominville during scrimmages. Ruff said his thought is to keep Ennis in the middle in Portland.
Keeping Ennis at center is an interesting decision after the speedy Albertan hoarded WHL points predominantly from the left wing spot. The move adds a high level of skill to a position of need, and certainly puts a little heat on Tim Kennedy as the Buffalo native looks to crack the top club in a contract year. Like Kennedy, Ennis likes to carry the puck while creating and finishing plays with equal aptitude. If things don't pan out, he can always glide as a wing, but for now this shouldn't be viewed as an experiment as much as a step forward for the future top six. I'll have more on this as camp winds down.