On Saturday night, Buffalo Sabres forward Zemgus Girgensons was named to his first career NHL All Star Game. Girgensons led all vote getters by a large margin, joining Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook and Corey Crawford among the league leaders in votes.
Girgensons was drafted 14th overall in 2012 by the Buffalo Sabres. His first full season in the NHL was in 2013, where he accumulated 22 points in 70 games. This year, he has played in all 40 games with the Sabres, recording 11 goals and 20 points. The Riga, Latvia native is having himself a fine season, despite playing on one of the league’s worst teams. Girgensons thrives on the penalty kill, and has been contributing on the power play of late. Girgensons plays a 200 foot game, and is extremely difficult to knock off the puck.
The fact that Girgensons even made it to the All Star game, let alone the top vote getter may come as a surprise to most hockey fans, as he ranks tied for 140th in league scoring. A major reason as to why Girgensons was voted into the All Star game was due to the support he got from his home country of Latvia. Over 80% of his votes came from his home country, which is a staggering amount.
It will be interesting to see how Girgensons blends in with the leagues best come January 25th, when the game will be hosted in Columbus. It will be a test for the 21 year old Girgensons, but if he plays like he has this year, he will do just fine.