With the NHL‘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 Jhonas Enroth.
Contract Details: Pending restricted free agent.
Last Year: Salary of $725,000 and cap hit of $675,000.
The Scoop: As Ryan Miller‘s back-up for three seasons, Enroth has seen his share of ups and downs, but seems prepared to create more of the former nowadays. Enjoying the plaudits from his gold medal conquest with Sweden at the IIHF World Championships, the 24-year-old has given Buffalo reason to believe that he is ready to step in and take over the starting role if Miller opts to leave for the sake of increasing his chances to win a Stanley Cup.
His 1.15 goals against average and .956 save percentage at the tournament were astounding, making it hardly a shock that he was seen as the best goalkeeper throughout the event. He must be as sharp for the Sabres, as they are gearing up for a potentially straining season because of all the changes underway.
Why They Would Want to Keep Him: He is athletically remarkable and does not appear to be psyched out on the grander stages, which is why he looked so comfortable for Sweden in May. For a smaller goaltender, Enroth covers his angles extremely well and his movement is superb. Not to mention, he’s fun to watch because he will not give up on a play until the puck officially hits the back of the net.
His triumph at the World Championships will definitely boost his confidence and while it might require a year or two before he is accustomed to the starting job, he possesses the intangibles to be a legitimate No.1 netminder.
What Will Worry Them: He has yet to be tested with a heavy workload in the NHL and many will be monitoring Enroth’s proficiency as he receives more chances. Last year, he started in a career-high 26 games and hit a major rut, enduring defeat in his final 12 outings.
Final Verdict: With Miller’s intentions seeming to favor an inevitable exit at some point, Enroth will assuredly be re-signed by the Sabres.