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Canandaigua, NY • United States • 29 Years Old • Male
This is the start of my off season assessment of the Buffalo Sabres players. I figured I would start with two on again, off again line mates in Tyler Ennis and Marcus Foligno. On paper, these are 2 completely different players. Ennis is 5’9”, 157 lbs while Foligno is 6’3” and 226 lbs. However, both of them can add a lot to the Sabres.

Before I kick this off, I’m going to say one thing that basis my theory on how the Sabres need to be structured. Obviously, we can’t just start from scratch with this team. Some will stay, others will go. I’m a big fan of getting players who play well as a part of the system, and who compliment each other on the ice. I think a lot of NHL teams drool over star players, or players who put up decent numbers for a specific team. Then overpay to get them. The game plan needs to be designed to get the most out of the the players on the ice. So, throughout looking at these players, please keep that in mind.

I’m going to start with Ennis. He is one of those players who I feel has the potential to be a great player in the NHL. While he is small, he is very quick and has the ability to be in the right place at the right time. He’s very agile and when he uses his speed, he’s dangerous. Ennis also isn’t too afraid to go to the front of the net, but isn’t consistent. In open ice, he’s has the potential to be dangerous.

Unfortunately, the past 2 years, Ennis’ numbers have been down due to injury and the lockout. When he played his first full season for Buffalo in 2010-2011, he netted 20 goals and had a total of 49 points. He also stays out of the penalty box. Ennis also hasn’t played a full season since his first season with the Sabres. I’m a little concerned about that as we head into the 2013-2014 season, but Ennis is young. I’m sure it’s not going to be that big of a deal.

Which now moves me to Foligno. He is almost the opposite of Ennis. He’s big, and doesn’t have the ability to score to the degree that Ennis can. However, Foligno isn’t afraid to go into the dirty areas of the ice, and at times, can play a very physical game. Foligno also isn’t one to shy away from a fight. He demonstrated his scoring ability in Rochester pre-lockout, putting up 16 goals and a total of 39 points. There, he often played with a player who could score, and another big forward in Mark Mancari.

However, I feel that Foligno was underutilized this past season, as was Ennis. With a new rebuild coming in Buffalo, a lot of people are wondering who is secure in Buffalo and who isn’t. Now, I can’t tell anyone that. Your guess is as good as mine. However, I think that Foligno and Ennis will play into the future for the Sabres. They’re both young players, and have a lot to offer. Regier shouldn’t even think about trading them unless a great deal is presented to him.

So how do Ennis and Foligno play into the future?

I think Ennis and Foligno need to stay on the same line. I like the concept of putting players who compliment each other together. I’d like to see Buffalo add another player who plays aggressively and has speed. Stafford worked initially, but I don’t think he’s the answer. I’d like to see another bigger forward join this line. While Ennis isn’t necessarily one to shy away from a hit, it can open up a lot of options offensively by having 2 bigger players around him. Also, Ennis and Foligno are able to move the puck well in the offensive zone. Getting one more big forward to join these two and who can move the puck, and there’s a decent line for the Sabres.

Why do I like this concept so much?

I like protection for the star players of a team. Ennis has the ability to score more, if he has the right people around him. I think that Foligno is already one solid player to do that, and I think that another power forward can add to this combo. In using these players for the upcoming season, I think that Ennis and Foligno can both contribute to the power play. Foligno. Ennis can cycle the puck well, and has a decent shot. Foligno, he’s huge. His place? Standing right in front of an opposing goalie, and causing havoc. I’d also consider Foligno on the penalty kill.

In the end, I like both of these players. I think they weren’t used correctly under Ruff, but I think Rolston may be different. That’s the key here isn’t it? A new leader, new roles, and a new direction for the Sabres.

However, I think we can count on Ennis and Foligno playing at part in the Buffalo Sabres future.

Follow me on Twitter- @SabresBTB

As always, thanks for reading!
May 12, 2013 3:11 PM ET | Delete
If we were to move Ennis, I would be ok with that. Really, trade anyone if you get the right return. Foligno I do not expect to go over 50 points but usually fall into the 30-45 point range with plenty of hits and good defensive play. I admire that in him and I think that people expected near point a game production, which is ridiculous. People were spoiled with 13 points in 14 games and that was not even a quarter of a full season. But Ennis needs to work on his defensive play.
May 13, 2013 12:20 PM ET | Delete
I could see Ennis becoming a version of briere small fast great with the puck, I could see him putting up 65-80 points if he stays healthy. Foligno is exactly what this team needs more of in the bottom six big strong hard working guy who can also chip in offensively. I think the biggest question is what do we get out of Myers if he can play top 3 minutes effectively this team will be much improved next season.
May 13, 2013 3:13 PM ET | Delete
I either see ennis moving to the wing or being traded off this team. I do not want ennis to be a #1 or #2 center and hes not exactly molded for a 3rd line center. Hes small, doesnt play defense, and will be absolutely eaten alive in a heated playoff series. Hes exactly the type of player that doesnt fit in our system. So unless hes moved to the wing he has no place on this team in the future in my opinion
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