Maine Hockey Journal

Ellis may prove to be an effective option for the Pirates

The numbers have finally come out on Matt Ellis’ new contract with the Buffalo Sabres. According to, Ellis’ new contract is a two-way deal for the 2010 – ’11 season that will see him earn $625,000 in the NHL and $105,000 if he plays for the Portland Pirates.

The fact that this deal is a two-way contract shows where the NHL is at in terms of players still looking for work with less than two weeks until the start of training camp, and it adds a dynamic to the Buffalo Sabres, making training camp a war zone on day one.

Sabres GM Darcy Regier said last month that he didn’t expect to bring Ellis back, but with season around the corner, Ellis became an affordable and –more importantly – knowable commodity.

It also gives the Sabres depth because he can be sent to the Pirates, which is coup for the team.

He’s a proven 20-plus goal scorer in the AHL. In four seasons with Grand Rapids, he posted 69 goals, 84 assists for 153 points in 282 games.

He’s a serviceable forward for the Sabres, playing 117 games for Buffalo, but his signing is going to generate competition among several players fighting for the last few remaining spots on the Sabres roster.

If Ellis should find his way to Portland, it wouldn’t be a complete shock to see him as a potential captain of the Pirates. His work ethic is unmatched and Pirates head coach Kevin Dineen consistently praised his play when he played for Pirates during the ’08-’09 season.

This was most likely the Sabres last player signing for the Pirates as well… They now have seven defensemen, 12 forwards and 2 goaltenders.

There is still room for a couple of invites, which opens the door for Maxime Legault and Brian Roloff when Pirates camp open near the end of September.

Roloff attended the Sabres prospects camp and was described by the Sabres as a positive showing. He signed a PTO with the Providence Bruins, last season, after he was done with school at the Univ. of Vermont.

Legault also attended the Sabres prospect camp. Drafted by the Sabres in the seventh round (#194 overall) in 2009, he played five games for Portland before being released.

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