BUFFALO – The Sabres have re-signed forward Zemgus Girgensons to a one-year contract, the team announced this afternoon.
With Girgensons’ $1.15 million salary, the Sabres have $8.537 million left in salary cap space, according to generalfanager.com. Their last restricted free agent is defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen. Training camp opens in about three weeks.
Girgensons, 22, is coming off a disappointing season in which he mustered only seven goals and 18 points in 71 games. That might explain the short deal. The Latvian struggled as he shifted positions on a slew of lines in coach Dan Bylsma’s rigid system.
“Zemgus has grown into a solid two-way player since beginning his career,” Sabres general manager Tim Murray said 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.”
With more free reign and ice time under former coach Ted Nolan, Girgensons enjoyed a breakout season in 2014-15, scoring 15 goals and 30 points in 61 games, mostly as the No. 1 center.
Based on the current depth chart, Girgensons could be a fourth-liner to start 2016-17, his fourth season.
Girgensons, the 14th overall pick in 2012, has 30 goals and 70 points in 202 NHL games.