Most Buffalo Sabres’ fans are unaware of the young talent playing for their AHL affiliate—and the best of that talent pool is 20-year-old Tyler Ennis. Ennis was selected 26th overall by the Sabres in the first round of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.
Standing at 5’9” and weighing 163 pounds, Ennis is not the biggest skater, but his quick and smart play keeps him ahead of the pack.
“His top-end skill is the best in the AHL,” Buffalo’s head of pro scouting Jon Christiano told The Hockey News. “He has quick hands, quick feet. He makes more NHL plays than any player at that level.”
Ennis’ first season in the AHL has been a magnificent one. He leads all rookies in goals (21) and assists (41), and he is second on the team in points behind Mark Mancari (63).
But before the AHL, Ennis was playing as a junior in the WHL for the Medicine Hat Tigers.
In the 2007-08 season, Ennis was fourth in the WHL in scoring with 91 points, attracting the attention of the Buffalo Sabres in the process.
The next season, Ennis finished tenth in scoring with 85 in just 61 games. Ennis, a native of Edmonton, was recently ranked 29th in The Hockey News’ 2010 “Future Watch.”
While his junior career has been impressive to say the least, Ennis has played just one game in the NHL—but he made it count.
On Nov. 14, 2009, Ennis laced up his skates for the first time in the NHL against the Philadelphia Flyers. Ennis arrived just minutes before warm-ups, but that didn’t stop the young Sabre from impressing the whole organization. That night Ennis scored his first NHL goal and Buffalo won the game 3-2.
“You dream of playing in the NHL, and that first goal was just indescribable,” Ennis said. “It was really just extreme excitement hopping on the ice for the first time, a pretty awesome feeling.”
Buffalo fans can only hope that Ennis continues his goal-per-game magic for the rest of his career in a Sabres’ uniform
Ennis might not get any more chances in the NHL this season, but rest assured that he will get a number of opportunities next year.