Anytime there is a situation where there is a teacher or an authority figure responsible for leading a young group of people, let alone athletes, the leader of the group always begins to develop a favourite and it appears Ted Nolan has found his prized pupil in Zemgus Girgensons.
Lindy Ruff is to Jochen Hecht as Ted Nolan is to Zemgus Girgensons. #sabres
— Ryan Wolfe (@wolfeshc) December 9, 2013
If you haven’t been impressed with the play of Zemgus Girgensons so far this season, then I don’t know which Buffalo Sabres games you
have been watching. One could easily make a case that Girgensons has been the most consistent and reliable player night after night as he’s only missed 1 game all year. He has managed to form a bond of trust between himself and the head coach which enables them to use him in all kinds of situations and he’s finally being rewarded for his hard work.
The top line of Matt Moulson, Cody Hodgson and Drew Stafford has gone cold ever since Nolan came to town. Whether it’s a chemistry issue or not, Nolan has seen enough from the top line and enough from Girgensons to warrant a change. The new top line will now feature Moulson alongside Tyler Ennis and Zemgus Girgensons, quite an intriguing line.
Ennis has been on fire since Nolan took over and Moulson could use an exciting linemate. Girgensons is the type of player who works his butt off every shift. Whether he’s battling in the corner for the puck or powering his way towards the net, he is always making something happen and that’s why he’s been promoted to the top line.
“One thing you can’t teach is the ability to work, He competes on a daily basis and it’s great to see him getting rewarded.” ~ Ted Nolan from Buffalo Sabres
While Girgensons may only have 2 goals and 9 points on the season (which has him tied for 4th in Sabres scoring), it’s what Girgensons has been able to do away from the puck which is getting him attention.
The work ethic of Girgensons is one of the best the Sabres have seen in a while from any player, let alone a young 19 year old rookie. Girgensons’ plays with great maturity, strength and motivation, something you just don’t see from most rookies. The best part is Girgensons is only 19 and will only develop into a stronger player as he grows physically and becomes a top notch power-forward and perhaps the Buffalo Sabres future number one centre.
Girgensons has been one of the lone bright spots on the Sabres this season as he shows great promise each game. Of all the rookies in the line-up this season, Girgensons has never looked out of place and is why he is one of the few rookies still wearing blue and gold. It will be interesting to see how he works with Moulson and what he learns from the veteran as the two look to establish chemistry.
Cody Hodgson will slide down to the third line where he will play alongside Luke Adam and Matt D’Agostini and maybe a slight cause for concern as Hodgson is expected the be the Sabres top centre for the future. Never the less, the new lines will be used when the Buffalo Sabres take to the ice on Tuesday night and Girgensons will have an opportunity to show Nolan that putting him on the top line was the right choice.