By Jay Skurski<br><a href="mailto:email@example.com">E-mail Jay</a>
LEWISTON — At just 5-foot-9 and a scant 146 pounds, Tyler Ennis is of small physical stature, but he carries the weight of large expectations on his slight shoulders.
That’s what comes with being a first-round draft pick in the NHL, as Ennis was earlier this month by the Buffalo Sabres, the second of two first-round choices, 26th overall.
The Edmonton, Alberta native showed flashes of the skill that attracted the Sabres front office during Saturday’s scrimmage at Dwyer Arena. Skating on a line that often times also featured Jacob Cepis, Ennis was one of the fastest players on the ice, impressive considering the number of quick, talented prospects the Sabres possess.
“I’m a pretty offensive guy,” he said. “I’m pretty fast. I think I have good skill.”
Ennis used that skill to rack up 43 goals and 48 assists during 70 games with Medicine Hat of the Western Hockey League last season.
The expectations that come with being a high draft pick haven’t put much pressur on Ennis.
“I just don’t think about it,” he said. “I know what I can do and what I have to do. I’m confident in my abilities. That’s what got me here.”
Before he gets to the NHL, Ennis knows he’ll have to put some bulk on that 5-foot-9 frame.
“I’m just trying to get stronger,” he said. “I need to have steady legs to grind down low.”
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Sabres General Manager Darcy Regier had high marks for the location of this year’s development camp.
“Niagara University has been fantastic. The turnouts have been terrific, as well,” he said. “It’s all good.”
As Regier referenced, another strong crowd was in attendance. The loudest cheer came in the second 30-minute scrimmage, when Nathan Gerbe fired a blistering wrist shot over the right shoulder of Jhonas Enroth.
Buffalo’s first first-round pick, 6-foot-7 defenseman Tyler Myers excited the crowd when he was awarded a penalty shot, but Enroth came up with the save.
In the first session, Tim Kennedy made a couple nice moves, but Enroth was there for the saves each time.
Another player who continued to be around the puck was Canisius’ Vincent Scarsella, a late invite to camp who’s not property of the Sabres.
Scarsella nearly picked Myers’ pocket in front for a goal in the first scrimmage, then had a breakaway in the second, which he misfired on.