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Sabres Reportedly Qualify Girgensons, Larsson

The Sabres have reportedly extended qualifying offers to two players.

NHL: Buffalo Sabres at Toronto Maple Leafs John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

According to Lance Lysowski of The Buffalo News, the Buffalo Sabres have extended qualifying offers to a pair of upcoming restricted free agents: Zemgus Girgensons and Johan Larsson.

Girgensons, 25, just wrapped up his sixth NHL season, all with the Sabres. He appeared in 72 games this past season and recorded a career-low five goals. Overall, however, Girgensons accrued 18 points, his highest since the 2015-16 season. All of his points came at even-strength.

He had four points (2-2) in the final month of action.

Girgensons also recorded 78 shots on goal this past season - far less than he’s ever taken in a season. He averaged 13:37 per game and went 40.6 percent in the faceoff circle, an improvement over his previous season’s 36.5 percent.

His Corsi-for this past season was a career-high 48.5 percent. Girgensons has largely been a defensive forward for the Sabres, particularly this past season. His defensive zone start percent at even strength was 84.7, far higher than in previous years, and compared to just 15.3 offensive zone start percent.

Overall, Girgensons has averaged 0.28 points per game in his NHL career.

Larsson, 26, has been in the NHL on and off since 2013, mostly with the Sabres - aside from one game with the Minnesota Wild. He’s accrued 79 career points, including 47 assists.

This past season, Larsson appeared in 73 games for the Sabres. He recorded six goals, including one shorthanded tally, and eight assists. His 14 points were on par with his performance in the previous season, though short of his career-high (17).

Larsson averaged 14:18 of ice time this season and went 50.7 percent in the faceoff dot.

Like Girgensons, Larsson also had a career-best in Corsi-for this season (49.5 percent). Also like the aforementioned Latvian, Larsson spent much of his time in the role of a defensive forward. His D-zone/O-zone start percentages are very close to Girgensons’ numbers as well.

Overall, Larsson has averaged 0.24 points per game in his NHL career.

The two spent most of last season on the third or fourth line together, with Larsson on occasion bumping up to the second line. Both are centers/left wingers that can swap in and out of position.

Aside from these two, the Sabres do have a few other restricted free agents in the fold: Evan Rodrigues, Jake McCabe and Linus Ullmark. At the AHL level, there’s also CJ Smith, Sean Malone, Remi Elie, Eric Cornel, Jack Dougherty and Brycen Martin.