The Buffalo Sabres ranked just 21st in the NHL last season and their offensive output will be affected by the loss of Zemgus Girgensons, who is out for the season after hamstring surgery. Girgensons was injured during a scrimmage game and likely will need six months to recover.
The injury occurred after Zemgus Girgensons fell in an awkward manner after trying to check Steven Fogarty. Coach Ralph Krueger acknowledged the hole that is left with Girgensons’ absence. Now it’s up to the rest of the squad to increase their production to fill the void.
Last season Girgensons led the Buffalo Sabres in hits with 110 and added 19 points in 69 games. The seven-year NHL veteran Zemgus Girgensons has scored 138 points on 61 goals and 77 assists in 489 games. A native of Latvia, Girgensons was drafted 14th in the 2012 NHL Entry draft. The loss is evident for his production on the ice, but as captain Jack Eichel noted, that Girgensons’ personality and what he brings on the bench and in the locker room is insurmountable. The team is confident that Girgensons will work hard and completely recover. In the meantime, who will step up?
Others will need to pick it up defensively, such as Kyle Okposo, a 32-year-old veteran who scored 19 points in 52 games. There are also new players such as 19-year-old Jack Quinn who could find ice time. The other forwards on the roster include Taylor Hall, Jeff Skinner, Curtis Lazar, Victor Olofsson, and Tobias Rieder. The Sabres are confident that Rieder, a seven-year veteran with four different teams, can step up.
The Buffalo Sabres have finished near the bottom of their division for the last six year and haven’t won a playoff round since the 2010-2011 season. Even with realignment, the Sabres have their work cut out for them to end that skid. That is more so with Zemgus Girgensons out. Let’s see if others can pick up the slack and help the Sabres back into contention.