Part three of seven.
Through Thursday the 19th, Sabres Hockey Central will be releasing the staff selections for the seven categories making up the 2010-2011 Sabres year in review. The posts will be published here at 8 a.m. daily.
Today’s award is “rookie of the year”. Monday’s post will feature “biggest comeback story”.
Overall staff selection: Jhonas Enroth
Rookie of the Year
Kevin Freiheit – Jhonas Enroth
I have to go with Jhonas. He came in at a crucial time and played a pivotal role in helping Buffalo make the playoffs. Gerbe and Ennis as the obvious runners up.
Jeff Pawlak – Jhonas Enroth
Finding success in the NHL is one thing; finding success in it under unthinkable pressure is another. Enroth had to do that in most of the games he played, where he faced multiple shootouts, and must-win games for the Sabres to make the playoffs. His accomplishments weren’t just a positive for this season alone, as Enroth’s fantastic play in 2010-2011 has secured the Sabres a great backup goaltender for the first time in almost four years.
Sure, Ennis and Gerbe both played key rolls in the Sabres’ turnaround during the latter half of the season but no rookie was better than Enroth filling in for Miller down the stretch. A great case can be made that without Enroth, the Sabres would have never made the playoffs in the first place. He led the Sabres to key wins while Miller rehabbed his injury — games the Sabres likely would have lost had Lalime been in net.
Adam Qutaishat- Nathan Gerbe
He didn’t have the best rookie season numbers wise, but he was absolutely phenomenal when he was playing well. Even when he wasn’t he was a pest and a physical force on the ice…at 5’6”. He was spectacular down the stretch and will be even better next year. He is a versatile asset and makes me wonder Tim Kennedy who?
Ryan Wolfe – Jhonas Enroth/Nathan Gerbe/Tyler Ennis
I hate to go for a three-way here but it’s gotta be Jhonas Enroth/Nathan Gerbe/Tyler Ennis. All three of these rookies played separately huge roles for the Sabres this season.
Tony Fiorello- Tyler Ennis
This is a no-brainer. He showed flashes of being a dynamic offensive talent in the playoffs in 2010, and he backed it up in his first full regular season by finishing fourth among all rookies in scoring. He is a future 30 goal scorer.