Seeing Girgensons up close competing against some young NHL players like Marcus Foligno and Cody Hodgson convinced Sabres general Darcy Regier he could play professionally.
“It gave us … additional insight into his game and what type of game he’s going to bring,” Regier said. “We had good idea of what his game is going to be, but I think you get a different sense of the level, and we’re confident he’ll do well at the pro level.”
Girgensons, 6-foot-1 and 198-pounds, played two seasons with United States Hockey League’s Dubuque Fighting Saints. No player has ever played an NHL game the year after leaving the USHL.
He will possibly start next season in AHL Rochester. But being a physical presence with a strong scoring touch, the Sabres could give him a long look during training camp.
With Girgensons, 6-foot-8 tough guy John Scott and supreme pest Steve Ott added in the past few weeks, the Sabres have gotten bigger and tougher in a hurry.
“There’s bite to his game,” Regier said about Girgensons. “He’s direct between points A and B, and he does it forcefully, and I think that’s an important ingredient to have in the organization.”
It’s unclear how many more ingredients the Sabres will add.
Regier’s still working on signing Russian center Mikhail Grigorenko, the 12th overall pick last month.
“Hopefully, we can get something concluded,” he said. “I’m hopeful it’ll be in the short-term.”
Regier has pursued veteran winger Shane Doan, arguably the best unrestricted free agent left. A Phoenix radio station reported Friday an Eastern Conference club has offered Doan a four-year, $30 million contract.
“We’ve expressed an interest, and as far as offers I’m not going to comment,” Regier said.
Regier has said he’d like to add a veteran center.