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Report: Buffalo first-rounder Girgensons passes on school, will sign with Sabres

Jul 13, 2012, 1:44 PM EDT

Zemgus Girgensons

According to Ted Ryan of the Burlington Free Press, Buffalo Sabres prospect Zemgus Girgensons — taken 14th overall at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft — will bypass enrolling at the University of Vermont to begin his professional career.

Girgensons will reportedly sign an entry level deal with the Sabres, at which point he’ll be eligible to join the NHL club or their AHL affiliate in Rochester.

“We have stated often that if we are going to lose Zemgus, we hope it’s to the NHL team that selects him in the draft,” said UVM head coach Kevin Sneddon. “Buffalo feels confident that Zemgus can play for them this year as well as with the Rochester Americans of the AHL.

“We support Zemgus and wish him the best of luck as he begins his professional career with Buffalo.”

Girgensons, 18, recently participated in the Sabres’ prospect development camp and played well, occasionally skating on a line with fellow 2012 draftee Mikhail Grigorenko and Buffalo’s first-round pick from 2011, Joel Armia.

During camp, Grigorenko told the Buffalo News his goal for the upcoming season was to make the NHL. Girgensons was less definitive, but did seem to relish the idea of skating alongside his fellow first-rounder — something that might’ve played a part in his decision to go pro.

“We clicked together pretty good, I think, so we’ll see how it goes this week,” Girgensons said. “It’s not a problem for me to transfer to the wing.”

While a nice get for the Sabres, Girgensons ‘ signing a tough blow for Vermont. He was part of what looked to be a stellar incoming freshman class and was set to be the highest-drafted Catamounts player in NHL history.

Former UVM player John LeClair was taken by Montreal in the second round — 33rd overall — in 1987 and current Catamount Connor Brickely was selected 50th overall by Florida in 2010.

Related: Will Buffalo’s two first-round picks be in the NHL next season?

  1. elemeno89 - Jul 13, 2012 at 2:00 PM

    awesome.

    • elemeno89 - Jul 13, 2012 at 2:02 PM

      meant to add that im glad to see that we avoided some kind of schultz like controversy.

  2. ltcpain75 - Jul 13, 2012 at 2:07 PM

    Where will Girgensons play this season if he doesn’t make the Sabres’ rosters? You have to be 20 years old to play in the AHL so it won’t be for the Americans.

    • travishenryskid - Jul 13, 2012 at 2:12 PM

      I’m not exactly sure what the stipulation is, but he is able to play for Rochester. I think he will get every chance to make the opening day roster though, and given Zemgus’s personality, I think he will be a Sabre this year.

    • Mike Halford - Jul 13, 2012 at 2:14 PM

      http://theahl.com/faq-p137653

      Per AHL By-Laws, the age limit for eligibility to compete in the American Hockey League is 18 years or over, on or before September 15 of each season of competition.

      The 20-year-old rule is for CHL Junior players.

  3. rycoem - Jul 13, 2012 at 2:24 PM

    This is a great signing…even if it takes him a year or two to up his strength, make the adjustments, & hone his skills, any team simply can’t have enough of these type of players – attitude-wise and determination-wise. I like everything coming out about this kid and I for one won’t sell him short on making the Sabres at some point soon!

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