Girgensons happy to be back with the Sabres

August 18, 2017
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After a 2014-15 campaign which saw him score 15 goals and 30 points in 61 games, Zemgus Girgensons' game has regressed over the past two years with just 14 goals and 34 points combined. Once thought of as a valuable center with the potential to be a 20-25 goal scorer, expectations for the 23-year old have dipped as he now plays mostly on the wing.

Even with the dip in production, the Buffalo Sabres re-signed Girgensons to a two-year deal on Thursday worth an average annual value of $1.6 million. The Sabres' first round pick (14th overall) in the 2012 NHL Draft was the last restricted free agent that needed to be signed to a new deal heading into the 2017-18 season.

Girgensons is about to enter his fifth year with the Sabres in Buffalo, and couldn't be happier to be back with the team that launched his career.

"Definitely excited to be back in Buffalo for two more years," Girgensons said with Andrew Peters and Craig Rivet on The Instigators on Friday. "Our team is looking really good with the new coaching staff, all the additions, the general manager. It should be an exciting time for everyone."

When beginning contract negotiations this offseason, Girgensons wasn't exactly looking for a huge deal to stay with the Sabres. Instead, he was looking for a deal that can allow him to just focus on his game.

"I thought a two-year [deal] was best for both sides," Girgensons said. "For me, it gives a little more breathing room just to ease my mind and not have to stress about next season."

Girgensons was originally drafted out of the USHL to develop as a center in the organization, but has been a nice option for the Sabres to shift around the lineup from wing to wing. He knows that his flexibility with moving from position to position, and up and down the lineup is helpful to the team's success. However, he has not set his sights on where exactly he will play under the direction of new head coach, Phil Housley.

"The team knows I have the versatility to play both [center and wing]. I think it'll come down [training] camp goes to see how things go and where the best fit is for me."

"There's pros and cons playing both positions. I definitely love playing center, but I've played on the wing for half of my career. I'm confortable playing both, and I love both. I just want to jump on the ice, and if I'm able to contribute to the team, I'm good."

With his production taking a turn over the past two seasons, Girgensons has been hard at work this summer trying to improve his overall game. He's hoping that with the work he has put in can help get him back to where he was during his 30-point campaign in 2014-15.

"I put in a lot of work this summer on and off the ice. I really focused on shooting, it was one of the things I needed to get better at that."

You can listen to Girgensons' entire interview with The Instigators below: