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Edmonton Oilers 2019-20 player review: Tyler Ennis

Much like when we reviewed Andreas Athanasiou, there’s not a whole lot of tape on Tyler Ennis with the Oilers.

But what we saw in a nine-game window was a glimpse at a wily veteran who can still contribute.

Ennis was picked up by the Oilers on trade deadline day from the Ottawa Senators in an apt trade that saw Edmonton only surrender a 2021 5th round draft pick for a player who should’ve warranted more.

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He joined the Oilers in his 11th NHL season and after spending the last four years with four different clubs. Originally drafted in the first round of the 2008 NHL draft by the Buffalo Sabres, he spent his first eight years there scoring 97 goals and 236 points in 419 games before he was traded alongside Marcus Foligno to the Minnesota Wild for Jason Pominville and Marco Scandella.

He played the 2017-18 season there, before signing with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2018-19, then the Senators last season.

After putting up solid points his whole time in Buffalo, Ennis struggled to gain much traction with the Wild, or the Leafs.

But things turned around last year with the Sens. In 61 games prior to his trade to the Oilers, he scored 14 goals and 33 points. Not only did he provide strong offence, but his underlying numbers were also solid on one of the league’s worst teams.

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Joining the Oilers, he found himself on a line early with Connor McDavid and the newly acquired Athanasiou where they provided some offensive punch with their fast-paced, offence-first play.

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In his first game with the Oilers, Ennis popped off with a goal and an assist. The goal was a beautiful play assisted by his new linemates.

The acquisition was a homecoming for Ennis, who grew up in Edmonton as a fan of the team and played his junior hockey here. His transition to Edmonton was quick and easy, doubly so given that he has a condo in town already. It’s not easy to be able to accurately judge a player over such a brief period of time, but much like when we acquired him I’m a fan of Ennis’ game.

Ennis chipped in offence at a similar rate in Edmonton (.44 PPG) as he did in Ottawa (.54 PPG) and I think that he would be able to do so on a larger scale. According to hockeyviz.com, in his 131 minutes of 5v5 ice time Ennis was able to provide offence at a +28 per cent rate compared to league average, while giving up defence at a +47 per cent rate compared to league average.

On a larger scale for the whole season, he gave +10 per cent offence compared to league average, and gave up +2 per cent defence compared to league average.

He brings speed and offensive punch as a guy that can contribute anywhere from the third line to the first line. His presence as an established veteran in the NHL, too, is something that shouldn’t be discounted.

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I think he’s a player that clearly wants to play in Edmonton for the hometown team, so why wouldn’t he want to re-sign at the end of the year? Ennis is a UFA after signing a one-year, $800,000 to play with the Senators this year.

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So what would it take for the Oilers to bring him back? I think Edmonton could probably get him on a two to three year deal in the $2-$3-million range and I think it would be worth it Ken Holland could make that happen. The Oilers, of course, have some cap woes this year so less is always more when it comes to trying to re-sign players.

On Twitter: @zjlaing