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2011 NHL Entry Draft
2011 NHL Entry Draft Hats

Ennis saw Nugent-Hopkins' talent early

Thursday, 04.14.2011 / 2:01 PM

By Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor / Road to St. Paul 2011 Entry Draft Blog

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Road to St. Paul 2011 Entry Draft Blog
Ennis saw Nugent-Hopkins' talent early
Tyler Ennis a loyal Buffalo Sabre, but there's another team very close to his heart -- the Western Hockey League's Medicine Hat Tigers.

He spent four seasons with the Tigers, including 43 goals in his final two seasons there. He still wears a spandex Medicine Hat shirt under his Sabres jersey, and is following them now in the WHL playoffs. The Tigers beat the Brandon Wheat Kings in the first round, and took a 3-0 lead on the Red Deer Rebels in the second round before losing 1-0 on Wednesday.

Red Deer is the home team of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Central Scouting's top-rated North American forward for the 2011 Entry Draft. Ennis remembered playing against Nugent-Hopkins in the WHL. It was during the 2008-09 season, Ennis' final season, while Nugent-Hopkins was a 15-year-old call-up to Red Deer.

Ennis said it was obvious right away what kind of talent Nugent-Hopkins had. "Sick passes, sick plays with the puck," Ennis recalled for NHL.com.

Ennis, an Edmonton native, had some advice for his hometown NHL team, which holds the first pick in June's Draft.

"He'd be my pick if I was making it," he said.