Zemgus Girgensons
Zemgus Girgensons
25-Year-Old CenterC
Buffalo Sabres
2018 Fantasy Outlook
One more stagnant season and Girgensons' stint with the Sabres may end, so there's a lot of pressure for the former Latvian Olympian to get better. He scored just seven goals and 15 points last year, the third straight season he's failed to show any signs of improvement. His stagnant development is both frustrating and confusing since he had shown so much promise in his sophomore campaign when he scored 15 goals. Girgensons played better when the Sabres experimented with him in a top-six role, but he's destined to be a checking-line player given his skill set, and with young players being introduced every season, Girgenson's time with the Sabres is running out. He's not worth any fantasy consideration until he solidifies a role in the lineup. Read Past Outlooks
$Signed a two-year contract with the Sabres worth $1.6 million AAV in August of 2017.
Not playing in World Championship
CBuffalo Sabres
April 11, 2019
Girgensons will not play for Team Latvia in the World Championship, Aivis Kalnins of Hockeybuzz reports.
Girgensons is without a contract for 2019-20, so the pending restricted free agent will turn his focus towards putting pen to paper. The 25-year-old posted five goals and 13 assists in 72 games this season -- his highest point total since 2015-16, when he also registered 18 points.
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
Girgensons had his worst season last year, finishing with a career-low 16 points in 75 games while averaging a little more than 13 minutes of ice time. Through four seasons, the Latvian has failed to develop into the reliable checking center the Sabres thought he'd be when they claimed him with the 14th overall pick in 2012. Buffalo’s deployed him both at center and on the wing in an effort to get him going, to no avail. He did have a promising January with seven points in 14 games when he received more ice time, but that production quickly tailed off, sending him back to a limited role. Girgensons still has some potential at 23 years old, but his time is running out in Buffalo unless he makes significant improvements, and that may be difficult for him to do with no clear path to top-six minutes.
Girgensons’ ice time was cut back by four minutes despite scoring 15 goals the previous season, mostly due to the result of an influx of new players. As a result, his production dropped, scoring just seven goals and 18 points in 71 games this past season. His offensive ceiling was never part of his intrigue, but he remains a reliable defensive center and occasional winger on a team bursting with offensive talent. Girgensons should be a key part of the Sabres' lineup, but his usual duties won’t often involve scoring.
At 21 years old, Girgensons has already seen a lot in his young career. He developed a cult following in his native Latvia that got him voted into the NHL All-Star Game as a starter this past season. And the hard-hitting center even has a rap song named after him. On the ice, his reputation as a power center is growing steadily. He delivered 15 goals and 127 hits in just 61 games last season, and will benefit significantly from the insulation that now comes with the improvements of the Sabres’ forward group. In 2015-16, he’ll likely slot into the third-line center role, where he should form a formidable line with Marcus Foligno and Johan Larsson. The former will bring grit; the latter will bring skill. And that combination should allow Girgensons to repeat -- and perhaps incrementally increase -- his production from 2014-15.
At just 20 years old, Girgensons is seen as one of the league’s best young two-way players. A complete player who can skate, hit and contribute offensively, he is slated to be one of Buffalo’s top centers and could become the team’s best player by the end of the season. The 14th overall pick from 2012, Girgensons should only improve upon his 22-point rookie campaign. Buffalo is short on NHL-caliber centers, which means the burden on Girgensons could be even greater. Having performed admirably for Latvia at the Winter Olympics, he doesn’t seem to be the type to shirk extra responsibility. What Girgensons lacks in high-end skill, he more than makes up for with a hard work ethic.
Girgensons played in the AHL as a teenager last season, scoring 17 points in 61 games with the Sabres’ affiliate in Rochester. The 2012 first-round pick took some time to adjust to pro hockey, but really turned a corner near the end of the season, leading Rochester with three goals in three playoff games. After a strong summer development camp, he heads to training camp attempting to win a roster spot with the big club. Those in keeper leagues should keep an eye on the 19-year old Latvian, as his combination of size and skill make him a tantalizing prospect. If he doesn’t break camp with the Sabres, he’ll likely be called up to show his stuff at some point during the season.
Girgensons spurned a college career with the University of Vermont to sign an entry-level deal with the Sabres. He was the 14th overall selection in June's entry draft and will certainly have a shot at breaking camp with the Sabres. Have a close look at him in keeper leagues, but the Latvian pivot will likely benefit from some seasoning with the Sabres' AHL affiliate in Rochester. Girgensons put 55 points in 49 with Dubuque of the USHL. The Sabres will have to decide whether it's better to have him on the NHL roster or playing regularly in the AHL.
More Fantasy News
Tallies assist in loss
CBuffalo Sabres
March 29, 2019
Girgensons registered an assist during Thursday's loss to Detroit.
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In midst of lengthy scoring drought
CBuffalo Sabres
March 8, 2019
Girgensons hasn't scored a goal in 32 consecutive games.
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Grabs helper
CBuffalo Sabres
February 13, 2019
Girgensons notched an assist against the Islanders on Tuesday.
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Pointless Tuesday
CBuffalo Sabres
January 9, 2019
Girgensons was held without a point in his first game back from injury versus New Jersey on Tuesday.
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Ready to return
CBuffalo Sabres
January 8, 2019
Girgensons will play Tuesday night against the Devils after missing the last four games with an upper-body injury, Mike Harrington of The Buffalo News reports.
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