The Sabres re-signed centre Tyler Ennis on Thursday to a five-year contract worth about $23 million, addressing one of the final pieces of their off-season rebuilding plan.
A person familiar with the agreement revealed the terms to The Associated Press. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the Sabres referred to the contract only as a multiyear deal.
Ennis was a restricted free agent after the Sabres retained his rights by tendering him an offer last month. Buffalo has now re-signed four of its five restricted free agents, with the exception of forward Luke Adam.
Ennis is a speedy, playmaking forward who led the Sabres with a career-best 21 goals and added 22 assists in 80 games last season.
Last month, general manager Tim Murray spoke highly of Ennis and how he might help revive the team. Last season, the Sabres (21-51-10) finished last, set a franchise record for losses and established a post-NHL-expansion-era low by scoring just 150 goals.
“I like his approach to the game. I like his compete level. I like his speed,” Murray said. “There’s a lot of things I like about him, and if we can do a long-term deal with him, then obviously the decision we’ve made is we’d go forward with him.”
Ennis was the second of Buffalo’s two 2008 first-round draft picks. He is a two-time 20-goal scorer and has 69 goals and 97 assists in 267 games over four-plus seasons with the Sabres.
Murray has already been busy restocking the Sabres this summer.
Buffalo made a splash in free agency by signing forwards Matt Moulson and Brian Gionta and defencemen Josh Gorges and Andrej Meszaros. Center Sam Reinhart, selected with the No. 2 pick in the draft last month, will also have a shot at making the team.