Ennis will skate alongside center Jack Eichel and left winger Ryan O'Reilly on Monday against Detroit, The Buffalo News reports. Moving Ennis up the depth chart seems to be head coach Dan Bylsma's last resort to spark a Buffalo offense that has scored just two goals in regulation time over its past three games. Ennis has spent most of the year on the team's fourth line, quietly waiting for his opportunity even though he admits he's struggling in a checking role. With nine points in 41 games in his eighth season in Buffalo, Ennis' future with the team is murky. At 27 years old, he's in his prime, but injuries over the past two seasons have really hurt his development and production. He has a good matchup against a team that doesn't defend very well, but also keep in mind that the Sabres have four defensemen out with injuries, meaning the top line will have to take care of its own zone first, which may hurt the trio's offensive opportunities.
Based on the lines at the morning skate, Ennis will play alongside Jack Eichel and Marcus Foligno against the Ducks on Thursday, the Olean Times Herald reports. The Sabres won their previous game in overtime against San Jose, but it was a costly one as the injury bug has hit the team again. Zemgus Girgensons (mid body) and William Carrier (knee) have already been ruled out and Evander Kane (hand) is a game-time decision, which means the Sabres were forced to call up Derek Grant, Evan Rodrigues and Justin Bailey from AHL Rochester. That has bumped Ennis up the depth chart to the second line, giving him a better chance to extend his four-game point streak. Ennis has been deployed sparingly since returning from injury by head coach Dan Bylsma, but this promotion gives him an opportunity to play more minutes and perhaps boost his production. Fantasy owners should keep an eye on Ennis in deeper leagues to see if he can nail down the top-six role, especially if Girgensons and Carrier's injuries are long-term.
Ennis scored a third-period goal on his only shot during Monday's loss to New Jersey. Ennis has been limited to just 44 games over the past two seasons and has posted only six goals and 17 points. He's also been deployed in a fourth-line role of late, which doesn't help his fantasy prospects going forward. However, the 27-year-old winger does have a three-game point streak going with a goal and two assists.
Ennis, who sat out as a healthy scratch in the second half of a back-to-back on Tuesday, is expected to play Friday against Detroit. Ennis missed 30 games due to a groin injury and scored a goal in his first shift upon his return against Dallas, but did not play against Toronto the following night. Head coach Dan Bylsma made Ennis a healthy scratch despite the productive outing for precautionary measures, and will continue to ease him back into the lineup as he regains his strength. The Sabres have another back-to-back Friday and Saturday, and assuming Bylsma sticks to the same strategy, Ennis will likely be a game-day decision. A slick winger when he is on his game, Ennis has a favorable matchup against Detroit's poor goaltending. He has value in deeper formats given his role on a talented but inconsistent Sabres offense.
Ennis did not dress for pregame warmups and will be a healthy scratch for Tuesday's road matchup with the Leafs, Paul Hamilton of WGR Sports Radio 550 reports. Ennis just recently returned from a groin injury that cost him 30 games so it appears the Sabres are merely being cautious as they work the 27-year-old back into the fold. The winger has been hampered by injuries for large chunks of the past two seasons but given he's produced three 40-plus point campaigns in his NHL career, he warrants fantasy consideration when healthy.
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