Weight: 190 lbs.
2013-14 team: Buffalo
Acquired: Taken in the 1st round (14th overall) in the 2012 draft
Last year's ranking: 6
After a so-so year in Rochester, Zemgus Girgensons took a pretty big step forward with the Sabres this season. Although his scoring ceiling is still a bit unknown, Girgensons showed flashes of the incredible talent that led him to be drafted in the first round in 2012.
2012 was Girgensons first year of professional hockey, and he spent the entire season in Rochester. His regular season had it's ups and downs, typical for a first year player. His stats were rather unremarkable, six goals and 11 points in 61 games. However he ramped up his point total in the playoffs, scoring three goals in three games.
That and a good training camp helped earn him a spot on the big club this season, and he never returned to Rochester. In his first full NHL season he scored eight goals and 14 assists, but impressed many with his flashes of brilliance and overall hard working play.
He plays a physical game, can kill penalties, and block shots. He's the type of player that blue collar fans fall in love with. But if Girgensons really taps into the potential we've seen from him thus far, he could be quite the force. He still will clearly need to improve his point totals if he wants to be a top six forward.
The Sabres have a good problem on their hands with the talent at center. Girgensons is now joined by Sam Reinhart, and Mikhail Grigorenko still has a chance to turn into something. It may be too early to pencil Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel into the Sabres lineup of the future, but Girgensons could be the third center in a few years. The Sabres could be returning to the days of rolling three very talented lines, a very good sign for the success of this team.
Want to check out more Top 25 Under 25 articles? Click here.