Buffalo Sabres Free Agency: Matt Ellis
With the National Hockey League‘s free-agency frenzy slightly over a month away, the Buffalo Sabres will be faced with some in-house decisions regarding the status of certain players. We intend to look at each situation, provide some analysis (the key word is some) and share our opinion on where they will wind up. Who shall stay and who will depart? We’ll now be moving on to Luke Adam.
Contract Details: Pending unrestricted free agent.
Last Year: Salary of $525,000 and cap hit of $122,000
The Scoop: Matt Ellis is your atypical grinder; he goes to the dirty areas where pain usually awaits, plays with energy and tries to learn how to be more useful for his club. After briefly representing the Detroit Red Wings and Los Angeles Kings, he found a steadier role in Buffalo (almost 200 games). Lots of younger players who can equate and surpass Ellis’ endurance are coming through the ranks, meaning that it is improbable to see room being produced for the aging forward.
Why They Would Want to Keep Him: While some players can be enigmatic, coaches know what they will get from Ellis because he is not talented enough to coast by on ability alone. It can be frustrating because he will not always be played, but he remains upbeat and does his job when he called upon. Being able to play either on the wing or at center, Ellis’ versatility is a plus and you will not see him take his back-checking responsibilities lightly either.
What Will Worry Them: As mentioned, he is older than the other players who are vying for positions on the lower lines. Basically, the numbers game is working against him and the fact that a few of the players from the AHL are garnering attention from new coach Ron Rolston does not bode well for Ellis.
Final Verdict: Ellis played six games and averaged a meager six minutes of ice time. Add in the fact that he was waived already by the team and it is safe to presume that he will not be involved in Buffalo’s future plans.