The Buffalo Sabres had already gotten a quality center in Mikhail Grigorenko when they picked with their 12th overall selection. Apparently that wasn't enough though as they traded their 21st and 42nd overall picks to the Calgary Flames to move up to the 14th spot. In that spot, the Sabres select the Latvian born center, Zemgus Girgensons.
Besides having the best name in the draft, Girgensons is projected to become a punishing #2 center along the lines of a Callahan, Brown, or Backes. The 6'2'' 198lbs center tallied an impressive 24-31-55 in 49 games for the Dubuque Fighting Saints of the USHL, but is known also for his gritty, two-way play and his exceptional intensity on and off the ice.
Here's what his Dubuque coach had to say about him:
"I haven't seen anyone with the kind of work ethic that (Girgensons) shows in practice and in the weight room since I was around Rod Brind'amour (playing in the NHL)," Montgomery said.
Girgensons himself describes his game thusly: "I'm a skilled power forward, that's for sure. I hit a lot, that's what I love about hockey. Scoring is the same thing with me, so I'm kind of both." Girgensons has committed to the University of Vermont for next season, but he thinks that he's physically ready for the NHL already. In his interview with the media after being drafted, he sounded confident in that belief:
"People have said I could play next year in the NHL, people have said it could take five years. If a guy says I can't make it and a guy says I can, probably both are right. We'll have to see what happens next year and go from there."
Q; How do you feel?
"I feel like I can play next year, if I'm physically ready and I think I will be."
The Sabres seem high on him too, as Kevin Devin glowed about him to the Buffalo News:
"The fans of Buffalo will love this guy," Kevin Devine, the Sabres' director of amateur scouting, said in Consol Energy Center. "He just will not quit. We talked to his coach, and his coach said he's got the leadership qualities of Jonathan Toews, Mark Messier."
If you haven't seen what this guy can do, check out this highlight package the Fighting Saints put out a few days ago. It's pretty impressive