Buffalo Sabres center Tyler Ennis said he believes the Sabres are done rebuilding and are focused on ending a five-year Stanley Cup Playoff drought.
"Our mindset now is playoffs," Ennis told the Buffalo News on Thursday. "We're a team that's looking to compete and be a real threat. We're growing. We did a great job toward the end of the year last year of really kind of finding our identity. We added some great pieces, and now it's coming together. We're ready to really become a solid playoff team that's growing and isn't a team that's rebuilding anymore."
Ennis, 26, was part of Stanley Cup Playoff teams his first two seasons in Buffalo, 2009-10 and 2010-11, but the Sabres have not qualified for the playoffs since. They have finished either in last place or second-to-last in their division each of the past four seasons and had the fewest points in the NHL in consecutive seasons, 2013-14 (52) and 2014-15 (54).
Buffalo had 81 points last season, a 27-point improvement from the previous season, and deepened its roster this season, acquiring veteran defenseman Dmitry Kulikov from the Florida Panthers on June 25 and signing right wing Kyle Okposo to a seven-year contract reportedly worth $42 million on July 1.
After consecutive 20-goal, 40-point seasons, Ennis missed most of last season with a concussion. He had three goals and eight assists in 23 games.