The Buffalo Sabres have re-signed restricted free agent forward Zemgus Girgensons to a one-year contract, the team announced Thursday. Travis Yost reports that the deal is worth “just north” of $1 million.
“Zemgus has grown into a solid two-way player since beginning his career,” said Sabres GM Tim Murray in a statement. “We hope to see him continue this positive trend and find a consistent role within the club this season as another young player to grow with our group.”
The 22-year-old center had a solid 2014-15 campaign, potting 15 goals and 30 points in 61 games during a season when the Sabres were a historic dumpster fire in pursuit of a top draft pick. That was also the season that die-hard fans in his native Latvia rallied together to give Girgensons a place in the NHL All-Star game and a theme song.
The #LatvianLocomotive is back! 🚂@zemgus94 signs one-year deal ▶️▶️ https://t.co/RuUCFXNkKG pic.twitter.com/HeF1jeJeDw
— Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) September 1, 2016
Last season, his counting numbers tracked backward quite a bit. Girgensons contributing just seven goals and 18 points in 71 games. Though he did see an uptick in his possession marks, with an adjusted CF%Rel of 1.87%. That’s more than a three-point swing into the positive from the season prior.
This deal is Girgensons’s first deal coming out of his entry-level contract. He was drafted 14th overall by the Sabres in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.