Zemgus Girgensons – The Next Ones: 2012 NHL Draft Prospect Profile – The Latvian Locomotive

Zemgus Girgensons THW Close-Up:

Date of birth: 1/5/1994

Place of birth: Riga, Latvia

Ht: 6’2″  Wt:  198 lbs

Shoots: Left

Position: C/RW

NHL Entry Draft Eligibility: 2012

Girgensons' game is similar to that of Jonathan Toews

He’s been drafted by CSKA Moscow of the KHL.  He’s been drafted by the Kelowna Rockets of the WHL.  The only team he REALLYwants to get drafted by is one in the National Hockey League.  He’s already made the jump Latvia to the US, so now it is a matter of making the jump from the USHL to the NHL.  Zemgus Girgensons has been a highly touted prospect since last season when he joined the Dubuque Fighting Saints and powered them to a Clark Cup.  He has stood out this season as one of the USHL’s best players and has received praise from scouts for his play in Dubuque and with the Latvian National Team at the World Junior Championships.

Seen as one of the best two-way forwards available in the draft, Girgensons brings a nice display of size, skill, and grit worthy of a possible top 10 pick.  One of the key advantages to his game is his skating, quick acceleration, and great agility.  The European influence in him comes out during each game with his shifty stickwork, and playmaking abilities.   But he isn’t one to back down from a bit of the “rough stuff” – his 63 PIMs this season can attest to that.

Leading his team in points this year, Girgensons’ Fighting Saints have secured their playoff spot this season and are looking to repeat as Clark Cup champs.  A solid showing during the playoffs can further cement the “Latvian Locomotive” among this years top prospect candidates.  He still needs to develop his game to be effective at the NHL, but that will take some time.  He has committed to the University of Vermont to hopefully revive a team who had an abysmal season in 2011-12

Scout’s Honor:

“An extraordinary competitor with excellent hockey sense. Highly talented and powerful – intimidates with skill and strength. Strong skater with a smooth and long stride. Possesses great footwork and agility. Can escape pressure and tear his way thru traffic with his tight stop-and-starts and seamless ability to change directions while still in flight. Protects the puck very well with his body and reach.

Tough physical presence in that he cannot be removed from the puck and has the tenacity, desire and grit to come get when he wants it. Attacks the net often and owns a soft touch which allows him to work magic with the puck. Can absolutely rifle a booming shot to the net. Has an outstanding work ethic, both on and off the ice.” – Reel Hockey Scouting

“There was a lot of pressure on Girgesons to have a good showing in the World Juniors on a Latvia squad that lacked talent from top to bottom. While some where indifferent about his play, Girgensons did show some positive signs that he could play a solid two-way game despite having minimal support in his lineup. Girgensons plays a reliable two-way style of play and is a strong center in all 3 zones. He uses his size to his advantage and as his skating continues to improve, his offense should benefit as well. Girgensons will be taking the college route at Vermont, but as a projected high-end 1st round pick, it will be interesting to see what route he takes in his development path.” – The Scouting Report


International Tournaments:

Zemgus was part of Team Latvia for the 2012 World Junior Championships notching only two goals in six games.  In 17 games of international play, Girgensons has amassed 7 G and 4 A.

ETA = 2-3 years

Risk-Reward Analysis:

Risk: 0/5   Reward: 4.5/5

NHL Potential:

Top 6 tw0-way center/winger


  • Skating
  • Agility
  • Puck protection
  • Physical edge
  • Wrist/Slap shot
  • Work ethic
  • Defensive awareness

Flaws/Aspects He Needs To Work On:

  • Needs to add on weight to completely fill out his 6’2″ frame
  • Needs to build foot speed in order to contribute in the NHL

Fantasy Hockey Potential:

Offensive: 6.5/10  Defensive: 7/10

NHL Player Comparison(s):

– Jonathan Toews

-Ryan Kesler


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