Over the next few weeks I will look back at the season for every player who pulled on a Blue and Gold Sweater, in numerical order of their jersey numbers. Kicking off this series is #1, the young back-up goaltender, Jhonas Enroth.
Enroth entered the training camp and the preseason as one of the hottest goaltenders in the league. Last season, when Ryan Miller went out with an injury late in the season, and Lindy had no faith in Lalime to lead the push to the playoffs, Enroth was called up from Portland, where he had a record of 20-17 in 40 games. Enroth stepped into the blue ice and played like he owned it. He dominated through March with 9 wins and only 2 losses with 2 overtime losses, in 14 games. He was a major part of why the Sabres reached the 7th seed in the playoffs that season. That offseason as a restricted free agent, Enroth was given the contract he desired, 2 years, $675,000 per season. Another thing happened that that offseason, the Sabres did not resign Patrick Lalime, nor did they sign a new back-up to Ryan Miller, thus guaranteeing the role to the Swede.
In 2012, the Sabres started off well. In October, Buffalo played ten games and had a record of 6-4 with Enroth winning both of his games. November is when things began to change. From October 22nd – November 2nd, Miller had four straight losses. At this point, fans began calling for Enroth to take the starting job, just as Tukka Rask did two years ago over Tim Thomas. Lindy gave the fans what they wanted and started Enroth in three of the next five games. On November 12nd, Milan Lucic plowed over Ryan Miller in a game against the Boston Bruins, thus giving Enroth the #1 spot in the crease. Enroth started the next 9 games while Miller was out with a concussion going 3-5-1. Once Miller came back in December, Enroth would take a back seat once again, playing only six of the next 24 games before the All-Star Break, and his record did not help him earn any ice time, as he lost all six games he played. Throughout the remainder of the season, Enroth had the pleasure of keeping his seat on the bench nice an warm as he played only three games in the second half of the season, all in a losing effort. Johnas Enroth’s final season stats: 8-11-4 in 28 games with 2.70 GAA and a .917 SV%.
Enroth is a young netminder with a lot of potential. Hopefully next season he can return to his form at the end of 2010-11 and beginning 2011-12, as long as he can get the playing time if Miller is healthy. We all know Lindy doesn’t often trust his back-ups but hopefully this past season has given him enough faith to give Enroth some time in the crease.
Up Next: #3 Jordan Leopold