NHL Journeyman Announces Retirement on Yardbarker

Hockey player Ennis has announced his retirement after a career-ending neck injury, following a successful career with teams including the Sabres, Mannheim, and SC Bern, during which he overcame multiple serious injuries and remained an effective player into his 30s.

Ennis recently made a statement about his retirement. The statement was translated from German. He said, “After working hard to get healthy with our great team, I ultimately decided to quit hockey.” He thanked Mannheim general manager Daniel Hopp, his teammates, the coaches, the medical staff, and the fans for their support. He also mentioned that he will continue to cheer on the Adler Mannheim vigorously in the future.

Ennis was a diminutive, versatile forward and a top-six threat in his early days with the Sabres. However, multiple serious injuries in his prime forced him into a depth scoring role. He remained effective into his 30s. Ennis has been an unrestricted free agent since the end of the 2021-22 campaign.

In the last 18 months, Ennis has played overseas with Mannheim and SC Bern in the Swiss National League. Before sustaining a career-ending neck injury, he had five assists through seven games with Mannheim. He also posted 13-20–33 in 37 games with Bern last season. The Sabres selected Ennis with the 26th overall pick of the 2008 draft.

Ennis spent one season in junior hockey after his draft. He lit up the Western Hockey League with the Medicine Hat Tigers. He also recorded seven points in six games for Canada at the 2009 World Juniors. The following year, he transitioned to the pro game, spending most of the season with AHL Portland. He finished second in scoring with 23-42–65 in 69 games.

His strong minor-league showing earned him a full-time gig in Buffalo. His rookie campaign wasn’t strong enough to get him Calder Trophy recognition, but it wasn’t bad. He scored 20 goals and 49 points, finishing fourth on the Sabres that year. This contributed to a ninth-place offense that led Buffalo to its most recent playoff berth.

Ennis’ production increased the following season, producing at a 58-point pace. However, a left ankle injury limited him to 48 games that year. He played 80 games in a season just once more throughout his career, in 2013-14. That Sabres team was one of the least memorable of the modern era, finishing with only 21 wins and 52 points. Ennis led the team in goals with 21, earning himself a five-year, $23M extension that summer.

In 2014-15, Ennis again led the Sabres in scoring, posting 20 goals and 46 points. Unfortunately, this season was his last near the top of a team’s depth chart. Upper-body and groin injuries limited him to a combined 74 games over the following two seasons. His production tanked, with just eight goals and 24 points, and his ice time dipped below 15 minutes per game. This marked the end of Ennis’ tenure in Buffalo. He was traded along with Marcus Foligno to the Wild in June 2017 in exchange for Jason Pominville and Marco Scandella.

In Minnesota, Ennis regained his health but not his production. He posted 8-14–22 in 73 games in his lone season with the Wild, averaging fourth-line minutes. The Wild bought out the final season of his $4.6M cap hit contract that summer, making him a UFA.

He didn’t last long on the open market. Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas signed Ennis to a one-year, $650K contract to continue his career in Toronto. He saw limited usage but scored 12 goals for Toronto, his first time reaching double digits in four years.

Ennis stayed in Canada but moved within the province the following summer. He signed a one-year deal for a more increased role with the Senators. He responded well, posting 16-21–37 in 70 total games in 2019-10. This included a deadline move to the Oilers shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic ended the regular season. His 14:43 average that season was the most he’d averaged since leaving Buffalo.

He continued to bounce between Edmonton and Ottawa over the following two seasons. He returned for second stints in each city. Between 2020 and 2022, Ennis recorded 27-43–70 in 157 games while seeing third-line minutes. It was puzzling not to see him field any offers in the summer of 2022 and head overseas to continue his pro career.

There were rumblings of a PTO for Ennis during last year’s training camp cycle, but none came to fruition. The 5-foot-9 forward wraps up his NHL career with 144-202–346 in 700 games. This includes 13 game-winning goals and a 15:10 time-on-ice average per game. PHR wishes Ennis well in his recovery from his neck injury and congratulates him on a spectacular career.

‣ Ennis, a former top-six threat in his early days with the Sabres, has announced his retirement from hockey after a career-ending neck injury. He spent the last 18 months playing overseas with Mannheim and SC Bern in the Swiss National League.
‣ Despite multiple serious injuries that forced him into a depth scoring role, Ennis remained effective into his 30s. He was an unrestricted free agent since the end of the 2021-22 campaign.
‣ Ennis had a successful career, leading the Sabres in scoring in 2014-15 and posting 20 goals and 46 points. However, upper-body and groin injuries limited his game time over the following two seasons. His career in the NHL ended with 144-202–346 in 700 games.

Alex Thompson
Alex Thompson
Alex Thompson is a Senior Writer for HockeyMonitor. With a background in Sports Media, Alex joined the team in 2022. He focuses on providing the latest hockey news, game scores, and fresh NHL trade rumors.

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