Tonawanda News


July 10, 2012

Sabres prospect Girgensons possesses strong leadership qualities

Latvian weighing decision between NCAA and pro hockey



When Girgensons gets to Buffalo is unknown. Right now, he’s committed to the University of Vermont, where he’s currently taking summer courses.

He’s AHL-eligible, however, and turning professional could be enticing.

“At this point, I’m going to Vermont,” Girgensons said after the Sabres drafted him June 22. “I got to see after the next couple days what’s going on.”

Following the first session of summer developmental camp Monday, Girgensons said, “Nothing’s been clarified yet. We’ll see what happens after camp.”

Girgensons is seeking advice, and he insists he’ll make his own decision with his “heart.”

“I think he wants to gather information to see where he’s at and listen to the Sabres,” Montgomery said. “I know going to Vermont would allow him to get better prepared.

“I don’t know what would happen if the Sabres say, ‘Hey, we want to sign you and we think you can play.’ I think knowing him he would take that challenge.”

Is the NCAA the best place for Girgensons then?

“I don’t know that answer,” Montgomery said. “It’s hard for me to say (because) I don’t know anything about the Sabres’ depth charts and stuff. … I think that Vermont is definitely a place where he can develop and get better prepared to play in the NHL.

“I spent more time in the American Hockey League (than the NHL). Zemgus can play in the American Hockey League.”

Girgensons has a knack for acclimating quickly.

He first arrived in the United States in 2009, playing for a team in Vermont named the Eastern Mountain Blades.

“I think within him playing five or 10 games everyone on the East Coast knew about him,” Montgomery said. “There was a special 15-year-old.”

When Montgomery got him the next year, Girgensons “was not that confident verbally at the time.”

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