Buffalo Sabres: Who is Jhonas Enroth?

tumblr_luk3s5p95Z1qc1c23o1_500Jhonas Enroth is a name that does not resonate with many fans outside the Atlantic division, and the absolute diehards of the NHL.  The 5’ 11’’ Swedish goaltender might be a legitimate answer for the future of the franchise after all, after being a career backup to Ryan Miller.  Sporting a career .914 save percentage coming into this season, throughout four seasons as the Sabres’ backup, is nothing to be ashamed of.  The 25-year old goaltender is also sporting a career 2.72 GAA (goals against average).

To put it into perspective, with the same defense, Ryan Miller, the past four seasons: .919 save percentage and 2.54 GAA.  Miller’s numbers in both regards are better, but not drastically.  Keep in mind, the comparison is between Jhonas Enroth and a two-time USA Olympian.

Looking at the current Buffalo Sabres defense, besides Christian Ehrhoff (who is supposedly on the trading block) and big Tyler Myers, the defense is porous to say the least.

Tonight’s game (3/3/14) against the Dallas Stars was on NBC Sports Network.  Seldom are the Sabres playing against a team in the national spotlight, unless they are being pounded on by a division foe from the Original Six.  In the first period, Enroth stopped 16/16 shots as he and his teammates escaped the first period going 3/3 on the penalty kill and went into the locker room with a 1-0 lead.

His glove hand: the left hand has been the reason for his recent success.  He won his last two decisions, in large part due to his athleticism and agility.  He stopped 65/71 shots against Boston and San Jose.  Allowing six goals in two games may not sound strong, but only four were scored even strength.  Still, with the 65 stops in the last two games, he has a .915 save percentage, which practically parallels his career average at the NHL level.

Enroth may not be a household name, but his intention is to change that.  While the status of Halak is still uncertain, it appears likely that Halak will take part in a deadline deal and never play a minute in a Sabres jersey.  If things go as planned, Enroth will play out the rest of this season, the first of a two-year deal, and then sign a contract extension either in the offseason or during the course of the 2014-2015 season, keeping him in Buffalo long-term.