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Player Report Card: Zemgus Girgensons

Once seen as a member of the Sabres’ future core, Girgensons inability to generate offense continued in 2017-18.

NHL: Buffalo Sabres at San Jose Sharks Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Season Stats: 71 GP | 7 G | 8A | 15 PTS

Age: 24

Contract Status: Signed through 2018-19

Over the past three seasons, Zemgus Girgensons has been a complete disappointment despite showing a great deal of promise early on in his career.

After being selected 14th overall by the Sabres in 2012, he spent just one season with the Rochester Amerks before being thrust into NHL action. Though he certainly didn’t take the league by storm, the 19-year-old was a rare bright spot on a team of misfits that finished in last place two years in a row.

Thanks in large part to his home country of Latvia, Girgensons was voted into the NHL All-Star Game in 2015; a year he would finish with 30 points in 61 games. Not bad for a second-year player forced into top-line minutes on a roster that was specifically designed to lose games. As the Sabres “tank” season came to a merciful conclusion, fans pegged him as a long-term piece of the future core in Buffalo.

Unfortunately, from the moment former head coach Ted Nolan left town, Girgensons’ play has taken a nosedive. Since his “all-star campaign” three years ago, has failed to eclipse 20 points in a single season.

From October 15th to December 12th this season, he went a whopping 21 consecutive games without registering a point. With seven goals and eight assists, he experienced career-lows in both categories. He also posted the worst all-situation Corsi percentage of his career at -6.9. The only time fans saw even a glimpse of NHL-level play from him was when he skated alongside Jack Eichel, and even then he left a lot to be desired.

With one year remaining on his contract that carries a cap hit of $1.6 million, it will be interesting to see what the Sabres decide to do with him in the offseason. There isn’t likely to be a significant demand for his services on the trade market, though it’s possible the team could try to move him as part of a larger package deal.

If he does return next season, his cap hit is certainly manageable, but Phil Housley needs to keep him far away from the top-six. This past year was Girgensons’ last chance to claw his way out of “bust” territory and he failed miserably.

It’s clear at this point that he will never be the reliable two-way forward that fans saw flashes of during his first two seasons in Western New York. But hey, at least a Latvian rap group named a song after him in 2015, so that’s.... something...

Season Grade: F


What grade would you give Zemgus Girgensons this season?

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