Apr 3, 2012; Buffalo, NY, USA; Buffalo Sabres left wing Tyler Ennis (63) during the game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at First Niagara Center. Sabres beat the Leafs 6-5 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-US PRESSWIRE

Buffalo Sabres Ennis the Menace?

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The current status of the NHL’s collective bargaining agreement negotiations has brought the off season free agent and trade markets to a screeching halt. The most recent counter proposal offered by the NHLPA has left the two sides “far apart”. And with Mr. Bettman taking the one year CBA extension option off the table, general managers around the league have been reluctant at best to make moves and sign free agents, due in large part to the fear of an impending work stoppage.
As we all saw last season with the NFL, any CBA negotiation is as much a public relations battle as it is labor dispute. With the current state of the league, with revenues/public interest being as high as they’ve ever been, I’m confident as long as the two sides are still talking, they will have the deal done by the start of the season.
Now I know what you’re probably thinking. Where is he going with this? This is supposed to be a Buffalo Sabres blog right? Well, here is my concern, as far as the Buffalo Sabres are concerned, as long as the deal is in place in time, the specific terms shouldn’t affect the Sabres team too much, unless… Tyler Ennis remains unsigned.
Before I start, I’ll just get this out of the way, I am a huge fan of Ennis (bias revealed). He’s a great puck handler, and great skater. Tenacious in the corners, and wins way more one on one battles than his size should permit. Last year after his move to center Ennis was really able to show off his ability to carry the puck through the neutral zone with speed, and drive defenders back off the blue line. And as a part the unstoppable Ennis-Stafford-Foligno line he is more valuable to this team than his point totals (15+19 in 48 games) would suggest.
Thus I remain concerned about Ennis for a few reasons, one, the unspoken agreement that most general managers have with one another on offer sheets has been shattered. (see Paul Holmgren) With the massive offer sheet that Shea Weber signed, it could open the doors for other teams that need help at center, (which let’s be honest here, most teams do) to make a play for Ennis. The Buffalo Sabres are by no means in salary cap jail for this upcoming season, according to Capgeek.com about 8 million under assuming the salary cap doesn’t change but an offer sheet in the neighborhood of 4 or 4.5 million per season for Ennis could really make the Sabres think twice about matching. And two, the market is going to pick right back up as soon as the CBA gets done, and if Ennis remains unsigned past the end of the negotiating period, it’s a good bet some team is going to try to pry him out of buffalo.
Needless to say, this whole negotiation process with Ennis leaves me concerned. Ennis is a key part of a team that when healthy, can be very competitive. I would urge both sides to get back to it, and get the deal done, so Sabres fans like you and I can breathe again, and get focused on the season to come.

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Tags: Buffalo Sabres Cba Tyler Ennis

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