Zemgus Girgensons

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Zemgus Girgensons
Zemgus Girgensons 2013-10-05.JPG
Born (1994-01-05) January 5, 1994 (age 21)
Riga, Latvia
Height 6 ft 1 in (185 cm)
Weight 190 lb (86 kg; 13 st 8 lb)
Position Centre
Shoots Left
NHL team Buffalo Sabres
National team  Latvia
NHL Draft 14th overall, 2012
Buffalo Sabres
Playing career 2012–present

Zemgus Girgensons (born January 5, 1994), nicknamed "The Latvian Locomotive", is a Latvian professional ice hockey centre currently playing for the Buffalo Sabres of the National Hockey League (NHL). He was selected 14th overall in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft by the Sabres.[1][2] With this selection, Girgensons became the highest-drafted Latvian in NHL history,[3] 16 spots higher than previous highest selection, Sandis Ozoliņš, in 1991.[1] In the previous year, Girgensons was selected in the second round, 28th overall, in the 2011 Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) Junior Draft by CSKA Moscow.[4]

Playing career[edit]

Girgensons began playing hockey in EVHS hockey school and was coached by former Dinamo Rīga player Edmunds Vasiļjevs.[5] He played in Latvian minor and youth leagues.[6]

Junior career[edit]

In 2009, Girgensons moved to North America and played in the Eastern Junior Hockey League (EJHL) for the Green Mountain Glades.[7] The next season, he moved to the United States Hockey League (USHL) and played for the Dubuque Fighting Saints.[8] In 2011, he became a USHL champion with the Fighting Saints,[9] and he also participated in the USHL All-Star Game.[10] In the 2011–12 season, his last as a junior, Girgensons was named as the captain of the Fighting Saints.[11]

Professional career[edit]

Girgensons entered his draft eligibility year as a projected first-round draft pick. He was selected by the Buffalo Sabres in the first round, 14th overall. The Sabres had already used their own first-round pick, selecting Mikhail Grigorenko 12th overall, but traded[12] a first-round (21st overall) pick (from Nashville), which Calgary used to select Mark Jankowski, and a second-round (42nd overall) pick, to move up seven spots to draft Girgensons.[12] Before attending the Sabres' prospects' summer camp, Girgensons had committed to going to the University of Vermont Catamounts of the NCAA;[13] however, he signed a professional contract with the Sabres on July 13, 2012, which forfeited his NCAA eligibility.[14][15]

Girgensons began the 2012–13 season in the American Hockey League (AHL) with the Rochester Americans. He had a slow start to the season and, at the beginning of 2013, he suffered an injury from a late hit by Richard Pánik of the Syracuse Crunch.[16] However, he finished the season strongly, scoring three goals in the Americans' first-round defeat in the Calder Cup playoffs.[17]

After scoring three goals and adding one assist in five pre-season games, Girgensons began the 2013–14 season in the NHL with the Sabres. He scored his first career NHL goal in the Sabres' season opener against Jimmy Howard of the Detroit Red Wings on October 2, 2013.[18]

Girgensons was the runaway leader in fan voting for the 2015 All-Star Game, buoyed in large part by votes from his native Latvia.[19]

International play[edit]

Girgensons participated at the 2012 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships as a member of the Latvian junior team and at the 2010 IIHF World U18 Championships. He made his senior national team debut in 2013 World Championships against the United States and scored his first international goal against Slovakia. He also was suspended for one game for spearing Branislav Mezei in the first period of the match in retaliation for an earlier hit.[20][21][22]

On January 7, 2014, it was announced that Latvia Head Coach Ted Nolan had included Girgensons on his national team roster for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.[23] Girgensons scored his first Olympic goal in Latvia's third tournament game, coming versus Sweden off of a power play goal against Henrik Lundqvist.[24]

Personal life[edit]

Girgensons comes from a hockey family. His father, Aldis Girgensons, played defence for Dinamo Riga.

Awards[edit]

USHL
NHL
Other

Career statistics[edit]

Regular season Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
2009–10 Green Mountain Glades EJHL 42 28 29 57 19 2 0 2 0 2
2010–11 Dubuque Fighting Saints USHL 51 21 28 49 46 11 3 5 8 8
2011–12 Dubuque Fighting Saints USHL 49 24 31 55 69 2 2 2 4 0
2012–13 Rochester Americans AHL 61 6 11 17 28 3 3 0 3 0
2013–14 Buffalo Sabres NHL 70 8 14 22 14
2014–15 Buffalo Sabres NHL 61 15 15 30 25
NHL totals 131 23 29 52 39

International[edit]

Year Team Event Result GP G A Pts PIM
2010 Latvia WJC18 9th 6 1 1 2 2
2011 Latvia WJC-D1 11th 5 4 3 7 8
2012 Latvia WJC 9th 6 2 0 2 6
2013 Latvia WC 11th 5 1 0 1 0
2014 Latvia OG 8th 5 1 1 2 2
2014 Latvia WC 11th 6 2 0 2 29
Junior totals 17 7 4 11 16
Senior totals 16 4 1 5 31

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Girgensonu ar 14. numuru izvēlas Bufalo "Sabres"" (in Latvian). Sportacentrs.com. June 23, 2012. Retrieved June 23, 2012. 
  2. ^ NHL. "Buffalo sabres 2012 draft selections". nhl.com. Retrieved 2013-09-08. 
  3. ^ RYAN O’LEARY (2013-03-22). "Pursuit of passion". iihf.com. Retrieved 2013-09-08. 
  4. ^ EliteProspects. "2011 KHL Draft". eliteprospects.com. Retrieved 2013-09-08. 
  5. ^ Jaunās Jūrmalas Ziņas (2013-03-01). "Edmunds Vasiļjevs: "Mūsu hokeja skola ir arī valstiska lieta"" (in Latvian). jjz.lv. Retrieved 2013-09-08. 
  6. ^ Latvijas Hokeja fedrācija. "Spēlētāja dati" (in Latvian). lhf.lv. Retrieved 2013-09-08. 
  7. ^ EliteProspects. "Green Mountain Glades 2009/10 roster". eliteprospects.com. Retrieved 2013-09-08. 
  8. ^ EliteProspects. "Dubuque Fighting Saints 2010/11 roster". eliteprospects.com. Retrieved 2013-09-08. 
  9. ^ USHL. "Clark Cup Champions". ushl.com. Retrieved 2013-09-08. 
  10. ^ USHL. "USHL Names CCM Midseason All-Stars". ushl.com. Retrieved 2013-09-08. 
  11. ^ Our Sports Central (2011-09-07). "Fighting Saints Open Camp, Name Captains". oursportscentral.com. Retrieved 2013-09-08. 
  12. ^ a b Corey Masisak (2012-06-23). "Quality outdoes quantity on Draft Night trades". nhl.com. Retrieved 2015-01-25. 
  13. ^ Mike G. Morreale (2011-11-01). "Girgensons talks future plans ... in Vermont". nhl.com. Retrieved 2013-09-08. 
  14. ^ Buffalo Sabres (2013-07-13). "GIRGENSONS, SABRES AGREE TO TERMS ON ENTRY-LEVEL CONTRACT". nhl.com. Retrieved 2013-09-08. 
  15. ^ Mike Halford (2013-07-13). "Report: Buffalo first-rounder Girgensons passes on school, will sign with Sabres". nbcsports.com. Retrieved 2013-09-08. 
  16. ^ Mike Harrington (2013-01-14). "Girgensons knocked out of Amerks' lineup, likely with concussion". buffalonews.com. Retrieved 2013-09-08. 
  17. ^ John Vogl (2013-05-02). "Girgensons impressive, but Amerks get swept from playoffs". buffalonews.com. Retrieved 2013-09-08. 
  18. ^ "Girgensons Scores in Opening Night Loss". 2013-10-03. Retrieved 2013-10-03. 
  19. ^ McLaren, Ian (December 9, 2014). Sabres' Girgensons dominating All-Star voting after 3 weeks. The Score. Retrieved December 9, 2014.
  20. ^ IIHF (2013-05-05). "Game Lineup" (PDF). iihf.com. Retrieved 2013-09-08. 
  21. ^ IIHF (2013-05-09). "Game Summary" (PDF). iihf.com. Retrieved 2013-09-08. 
  22. ^ IIHF (2013-05-13). "Girgensons suspended one game". iihf.com. Retrieved 2013-09-08. 
  23. ^ LHF (2014-01-07). "Nolans nosauc sastāvu Olimpiskajām spēlēm" (in Latvian). lhf.lv. Retrieved 2014-01-08. 
  24. ^ Matt Calamia (2014-02-15). "Lundqvist, Sweden Stay Perfect With Win Over Latvia". nhl.com. Retrieved 2014-02-28. 

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Mikhail Grigorenko
Buffalo Sabres first round draft pick
2012
Succeeded by
Rasmus Ristolainen
Preceded by
Laura Ikauniece
Latvian Rising Sportspersonality of the Year
2013
Succeeded by
Jeļena Ostapenko