Free Agent Friday: Ennis & Schiestel

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Tyler Ennis | Left Wing/Center | 22 years old | 2011-12 Salary: $875,000

Although Ennis began the season as a left-winger, he was moved to the center position late in the year after the departure of Paul Gaustad to Nashville, and the young forward saw some success in that spot – particularly on a line with Drew Stafford and Marcus Foligno.

Ennis struggled largely with an ankle injury this past season and ended up playing just 48 games. He missed 17 games twice during the year, the first from October 25 until December 2. After returning for a short period of time, he missed time yet again from December 20 until January 24.

He scored fifteen goals and 19 assists this year, including ten points in the final eight games of the season.

In the 2010-11 season, Ennis played in all 82 games and had 49 points in that time (20-29). He also played ten games in the previous season, although he spent the majority of time that year with the Portland Pirates of the AHL.

Drew Schiestel | Defense | 23 years old | 2011-12 Salary: $750,000

While Tyler Ennis’ case might be a little more straight-forward, the path up until this point has been rockier for Drew Schiestel (who, for the record, plays both defense and forward, and acted as both at some point on the Amerks’ roster last season).

The Hamilton native was selected 59th overall by the Sabres in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. He began his pro career with the Portland Pirates in 2009 and played there for two seasons, moving to Rochester with the Sabres farm club relocation. In 2011, he was named to the Eastern Conference AHL All-Star Team.

This past season, he played 43 games with Rochester but wasn’t named to their clear day list. He had spent some time playing as a forward due to an overcrowded blueline, but the lack of presence on the clear day list meant he wouldn’t be able to play for the Amerks in the playoffs. Instead, Schiestel was reassigned to the Texas Stars of the AHL, where he played a handful of games before missing the last few games of the regular season, and Texas failed to reach the postseason.

Since he is still Sabres property, Schiestel will get an offer sheet from the team, but who knows where he’ll end up next season? Although there’s no spot on the NHL squad for him – or any more defensemen, really – he could find a place in Rochester, as a defense OR a forward, if that’s what it takes.

Both players will receive offer sheets – but when October rolls around, will they still be members of the Sabres organization? What do you think?

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