We’ve Been Swede’d

Back-up goalie, Jhonas Enroth has been re-signed to a 2 year deal worth $1.35 million ($675,000 cap hit) according to the Swedish hockey website, Hockey Sverige.

Translation: 

After prolonged negotiations on a new contract came Buffalo Sabres and Jhon Enroth agree a new contract on Thursday. 23-year-old has spent most of his rookie contract through AHL games in Portland for three seasons. Last winter he got more and more chances to prove themselves in the NHL with Buffalo chose to play Enroth as the star goalie Ryan Miller’s actual place instead of Patrick Lalime, who during the season was the one who guarded båsdörren when Miller watched the bag. 14 matches was in the NHL of Enroth, who won nine games and held a zero. Enroth new contract with the Sabres extend over two years and gives him a total of $ 1,350,000, which in total will be about the same amount as he had during the rookie contract – but with the great difference that the new contract is a envägskontrakt and guarantee amounts.

After coming up last season and performing very well, it looks like the Sabres want to hitch their wagon to Enroth and have him back-up Miller for the foreseeable future. Without a doubt, this situation will be very interesting to watch. Goaltenders tend to take a while to develop and there may be set-backs. The most recent example of this is Tuukka Rask, a guy who had a phenomenal rookie campaign with the Bruins and out-dueled Miller in the playoffs two years ago. Bruins fans were calling for Tim Thomas to be moved to make way for the new guy, but as it turns out, the guys in the front office were smarter than the fans and held onto him. Rask stumbled this past season and we all know how the rest of the story turned out. If a guy who played that well is capable of regressing, then so is Enroth. I’m not trying being a pessimist. All I’m saying is if Enroth has a rough patch this year, don’t be too surprised, be patient, and don’t call for the kid’s head.

With all of that being said, there’s still plenty to be excited about. If Enroth can come in and play like he did during his games with the Sabres, Buffalo will finally have a competent back-up goaltender, something that they’ve lacked since Marty Biron left. Ideally, I think there should be 62-20 split in starts in goal, give or take a few games. Miller won’t get worn out as much and will be more fresh for the playoffs and Enroth will continue to develop properly while giving the Sabres a chance to win games.

Of course, all of that is moot if Lindy decides to play the heck out of Miller and give Enroth very little work, which wouldn’t be much of a stretch given how he’s handled the goaltending situation in the past. I think we can all agree that despite his other endearing qualities, Patty Lalime was ultimately a big failure as a back-up goalie here,  but part of his bad performance can be attributed by his lack of playing time in my opinion. There are only a select number of goalies who can come off the bench that cold and be competent goalies. Giving a young goalie like Enroth that kind of treatment will surely spell disaster.

Time will tell if Lindy decides to deviate from the norm and give Enroth a good amount of work, but until then, let’s hope that happens and hope that we see quality saves like this from Enroth this season.

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