Zemgus Girgensons
Zemgus Girgensons
26-Year-Old CenterC
Buffalo Sabres
2019 Fantasy Outlook
Girgensons is consistent, but that doesn't mean he's good. The Latvian forward has scored between 15 and 18 points in each of the past four seasons, and his career rating is an ugly minus-52. That poor plus-minus can be chalked up in part to playing for what has largely been a lackluster Sabres team, but even if the club around him improves, Girgensons is unlikely to benefit much given his fourth-line role. Read Past Outlooks
$Signed a one-year, $1.6 million contract with the Sabres in July of 2019.
Decent bet to return to Buffalo
CBuffalo Sabres
June 9, 2020
With the Sabres being one of seven NHL teams that won't be part of the playoffs, Girgensons has played his last game of 2019-20 and will soon become an unrestricted free agent, Lance Lysowski of The Buffalo News reports.
ANALYSIS
Girgensons, the No. 14 overall pick in 2012, has turned out to be a much better player in real life than fantasy, with a high of just 30 points back in his second NHL season. But he's a good penalty killer and has a much better all-around game than the average fourth liner, so his mollified stats could make him pretty affordable in the likely event the Sabres try to lure him back with a new contract.
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NHL Stats
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2016
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2018 NHL Game Log
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2017 NHL Game Log
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2019–20 Time On Ice Stats
  • Average Time On Ice:
    13:48
  • Average Power Play TOI:
    0:02
  • Average Short-Handed TOI:
    2:08
 
Ice Time
Power Play
Short-Handed
2017–18
13:43
0:05
1:37
2018–19
13:37
0:05
2:24
2019–20
13:48
0:02
2:08
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Sabres Power Play Depth Chart
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
2018
2017
2016
2015
2014
2013
2012
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.
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
In there Saturday
CBuffalo Sabres
March 7, 2020
Girgensons (lower body) will play Saturday against the Flyers, Lance Lysowski of The Buffalo News reports.
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Battling lower-body issue
CBuffalo Sabres
Lower Body
March 6, 2020
Girgensons (lower body) is considered questionable for Saturday's game against Philadelphia, Paul Hamilton of WGR Sports Radio 550 reports.
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Getting hot offensively
CBuffalo Sabres
February 26, 2020
Girgensons scored a goal on his lone shot in Wednesday's 3-2 loss to Colorado.
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Tallies goal in win
CBuffalo Sabres
February 23, 2020
Girgensons registered a goal in Saturday's win over Pittsburgh.
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Fills empty cage
CBuffalo Sabres
January 16, 2020
Girgensons scored an empty-net goal in Thursday's 4-1 win over the Stars.
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