St. Louis Blues goalie Brian Elliott (1) makes a save on a shot by Buffalo Sabres\' Tyler Ennis (63) as Blues\' Carlo Colaiacovo watches during the third period of an NHL hockey game on Thursday, April 3, 2014, in St. Louis. A person familiar with the agreement confirmed to The Associated Press early Thursday that the Sabres have reached a deal to re-sign Ennis to a five-year contract worth about $23 million.THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Jeff Roberson
BUFFALO, N.Y. - The Sabres re-signed centre Tyler Ennis on Thursday to a five-year contract worth $23 million, addressing one of the final pieces of their off-season rebuilding plan.
Two people familiar with the agreement revealed the terms to The Associated Press. They spoke on the condition of anonymity because the Sabres referred to the contract only as a multiyear deal.
Ennis will make $7.3 million this season, $4.75 million in 2015-16, and $3.65 million in each of the final three seasons of the contract, one of the people said.
Ennis was a restricted free agent after the Sabres retained his rights by tendering him an offer last month. Buffalo has re-signed four of its five restricted free agents. Only forward Luke Adam remains unsigned.
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.