On Saturday, Buffalo Sabres backup goaltender Jhonas Enroth turned in a impressive 29-save performance against the Philadelphia Flyers to record his first shutout of the season. Enroth has now won three of his last four starts for the Sabres, quite an accomplishment considering he often doesn’t play for at least a week in-between appearances. With Ryan Miller the clear top choice in net for a Sabres team that remains on the fringe of making the playoffs and Enroth set to be a restricted free agent at the end of the season, the Sabres will be faced with an interesting decision.
Enroth was drafted by the Sabres in 2006, and since first hitting the NHL full-time for the 2010-11 season his position on the team has been clear. With Miller filling the workhorse role, starts have been hard to come by for Enroth, especially in the shortened 2013 season. He has appeared in nine games but has only made seven starts, and where he plays next season may very well depend on how badly he wants to be in the spotlight.
Another piece was added to the puzzle at the trade deadline when the Sabres got Matt Hackett from the Minnesota Wild in a trade for Jason Pominville. Hackett is less experienced than Enroth at the NHL level, but has performed fairly well when the Wild have called on him. He’s also set to be a free-agent at season’s end. Since the reality is that no backup to Miller is ever going to see a ton of ice time, Enroth or Hackett present very similar options moving forward.