Maine Hockey Journal

A pair of Tyler’s find themselves in blue and gold

Ottawa, ONT – It was a night of Tyler’s for the Buffalo Sabres.

The Sabres, with two picks, were full of options in the first round, but decided on staying the course selecting Tyler Myers and Tyler Ennis in the first round of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. Both may one day be gracing the ice in blue and gold.

“I just said to Kevin (Devine) Director of Amateur Scouting, if we started the day and told you would end up with Myers and Ennis I think you would have been pretty happy,” said Sabres GM Darcy Regier. “He said yeah absolutely. You always hope for more, but it was a good day for us.

After making an early trade with the Los Angeles Kings, in which the Sabres gave up pick #13 and a third round pick in 2009, they moved up one spot to #12, selecting Myers from the Kelowna Rockets of the WHL.

“We’d been talking with L.A. about the move they made with Anaheim,” said Sabres’ GM Darcy Regier. “We knew that if one of our three players that we have identified wasn’t going to be available, we were going to pull back. When L.A. stepped in front of us and did essentially what we were going to do… we called L.A. and they were working on a deal with another (Eastern Conference team) to move back a couple spots to get what they wanted.

“At the end of the day in order to assure us our pick and them their pick, we worked the deal the way we did.”

At 6-7, 206-pounds, the 18-year-old Myers was the tallest player in this year’s draft and the scary thing is he still has room to grow. Often compared to Zdeno Chara and Chris Pronger, he’s a physical player that will battle along the boards. He’s a very good skater and hardly is beaten by opposing forwards for someone of his size and age. That coupled with a booming slap shot and he’s an instant hit on the power play.

Myers will attend training camp in the fall, but mostly likely will find himself back in Kelowna working on his improving his foot speed, something he’ll need to do to make it to the NHL.

Not done yet with their selections, Buffalo selected from the Medicine Hat Tigers, Tyler Ennis with the 26th pick. They had numerous options with that pick, but opted to stay with what has worked for them in the past, selecting a small, speedy center, with offensive capabilities.

Ennis, 5-9, 146-pounds, played 70 games with the Tigers this past season, scoring an impressive 91 points (43 g, 48a) – something unheard of in the WHL, especially for a player of his size.

Consider one of the best pure offensives threats in the draft, the Sabres feel like they got a steal with this kid. Along the lines of Derek Roy, Nathan Gerbe, Ennis is someone who is closer to the NHL then many would think despite his size.

“He’s a very exciting player – competitive, tough – he goes to the net and has a really high skill level,” said Regier. “We play a game in the NHL that’s very tight and you need players like that.”

Before selecting Ennis, Regier was trying to move their 26th pick, but made the decision to keep it when he was comfortable Ennis was going to be available at that pick.

“There was a lot talk about moving from 26 to the second round and doubling up there, but when you look at (our) evaluation, we felt it was better to stay with the 26th pick,” he said.

Besides selecting the future of the Sabres and Pirates, Regier was working the phones trying to make a trade to improve the current roster. However, he wasn’t in on the big prizes of the night as the Florida Panthers traded Ollie Jokinen to Phoenix for a package of players and Los Angeles dealt Mike Cammalleri to Calgary in a three-way deal with Anaheim.

“We talked to one team about a defenseman,” said Regier. “He wasn’t traded so we’ll see where that goes tomorrow… We were aware that Jokinen was going to be moved and with Cammalleri, we were aware, but we weren’t in the position to get involved in that.”

Rounds two through seven will take place on Saturday and according to Regier, the Sabres plans on playing it safe, shifting focus to finding bigger forward.

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