While he undoubtedly gained some confidence this spring, after appearing in his first NHL playoff series, Tyler Ennis
said it’s not the only thing he’s added this summer. In fact, he’s worked quite hard to pack on the pounds.
“Can’t you tell I’m huge now?” He joked, following the first day of Rookie Camp at HSBC Arena.
The winger said he added nearly 10 pounds to his 5-foot-9 frame during the offseason, putting him at nearly 173 pounds as he fights for a roster spot in the coming weeks.
He’ll be battling his peers, such as Nathan Gerbe
, to be amongst the top 12 forwards when Training Camp officially begins on Saturday.
He already has some self-assurance after scoring nine points (3+6) in 10 regular season games, and four points (1+3) in six postseason contests. Ennis knows, however, that he still has to put the work in prior to Opening Day to be in the lineup.
He’s also set some lofty expectations for himself to keep him motivated throughout the process.
“I want to not only fare well in camp and work hard, but I want to make a statement and work for a spot on the top six and perform,” Ennis said. “Playing on the biggest stage [with the Sabres last season] was important for me and it was fun… I had a good summer to reflect on it and it makes you want to be here more.”
Head Coach Lindy Ruff was careful to warn him not to get complacent as there are no guarantees heading into this season. But he also added that he believes that Ennis has what it takes to stay in the League.
“I think he just has to maintain what he had going on in April,” Ruff said. “He’s a fearless kid and we’re looking for creativity out of him. We want him to operate the way he operated… knowing that being that creative he’s going to make some mistakes for us.
“I think he can be a special player.”
“I just have to come in and work really hard,” Ennis said. “There is definitely a good opportunity in front of me, but I have to play well.
“It’s an exciting time for me now.”
He’ll continue to work this week as the Sabres prospects begin to scrimmage at HSBC Arena. The on-ice sessions begin at 10:30 a.m. and are open to the public. For more information on Saturday’s Puck Drop festivities, click here.