Everyone believed that the Toronto Maple Leafs were done adding players up front once they managed to sign superstar player John Tavares to a massive seven-year deal on Sunday.
Well, think again.
On Friday morning, David Pagnotta of the Fourth Period revealed that the Maple Leafs have signed forward Tyler Ennis to a one-year deal. The contract is reportedly valued at $650,000.
During his 31 Thoughts podcast on Thursday, league insider Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet said of Ennis: “Tyler Ennis was a great story. I don’t know what happened there. I don’t know what happened there. And I hope he finds it again.”
The Leafs are clearly agreeing with Friedman, and willing to give Ennis that chance to find back his mojo.
Mike Russo, who covers the Minnesota Wild for The Athletic, was heard saying on Thursday that Ennis can still play at the NHL level after being relegated to the fourth line on the Wild this year.
“I think it’s good for Tyler to get out of here… He didn’t love the role he was in or the ice time he was getting. He got almost no power play time… I do think he can still play. I think that’s proven. Unfortunately it just didn’t work in Minnesota.”
On June 30th, Ennis was placed by on unconditional waivers by Wild, who ended up buying out his contract. According to the information provided by Cap Friendly, the Wild will now have to pay out two-thirds of his remaining contract over two years. Ennis would receive approximately $1.2 million in 2018-19 and 2019-20. His cap hit would drop to about $2.2 million for next season, freeing up around $2.4 million in additional cap space.
It hasn't been the career it was expected to be for the former first rounder. Last year, Minnesota landed Ennis and gritty forward Marcus Foligno, along with a third-round draft pick, from the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for defenseman Marco Scandella, winger Jason Pominville and a fourth-rounder. With the major trade, the Wild was able to have better flexibility to re-sign forwards Nino Niederreiter and Mikael Granlund.
Foligno did manage to impress the team, while Ennis seems to have struggled to find his place on the roster. He tallied just eight goals and finished with 22 points in 73 games and was a healthy scratch at times.
Over a career that began back in 2009-10, Ennis has recorded 105 goals and 153 assists in a total of 492 games. He was originally drafted by the Sabres in the first round, 16th overall during the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.
The Leafs would surely like to see him back to his good old habits, however, the risks are quite low here. If ever Ennis does not jump at the chance to make a great impact in Toronto, they will just end up burying him...