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Get to know a draft pick — Zemgus Girgensons

Alexa Rexha, Dean Kukan, Zemgus Girgensons

Sweden’s Alexa Rexha, right, and Dean Kukan, left, tackle Latvia’s Zemgus Girgensons during the third period of a world junior hockey championships game in Calgary, Alberta, Monday, Dec. 26, 2011. Sweden won 9-4. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jeff McIntosh)


All week leading up to the 2012 NHL Entry Draft in Pittsburgh, we’ll be profiling top prospects who may hear their names called Friday in the first round. Nothing too in-depth. Just enough so you know who they are and what they’re about.

Zemgus Girgensons (C)

Height: 6’2 Weight: 198 Shoots: Left

Team: Dubuque Fighting Saints (USHL)

Country: Latvia

NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 18 among North American skaters

What kind of player is he?

By many accounts, Zemgus Girgensons is a “safe” pick projected to go mid-first round. He brings little bit of everything -- some snarl, some offensive skill and defensive aptitude -- but questions revolve around how much. Scouts are divided on his upside with some comparing him to Ryan Kesler...and others comparing him to Colton Gillies.

Girgensons possesses the size, skill and nastiness to survive at the NHL-level. The question is if he can thrive.

Of note, he has a sweet nickname (“The Latvian Locomotive”) and could be the first Latvian-born player drafted in the first round.


“Girgensons is the type of player you would love to have on your team, but hate to play against. His physical brand of hockey, work ethic and hunger for the puck is unrivalled by any player in the USHL and arguably his draft class.

“Girgensons plays the game the only way he knows how – in your face and full throttle – as he goes through players rather than around them… The opposition has to constantly be alert when he is on the ice, as he will hit with authority and can also burn a team on the scoresheet with his hands.”

- McKeen’s Hockey

More draft profiles:

Nail Yakupov

Filip Forsberg

Malcolm Subban

Ryan Murray

Pontus Aberg

Oscar Dansk

Griffin Reinhart

Alex Galchenyuk

Cristoval ‘Boo’ Nieves

Jacob Trouba

Olli Maatta

Derrick Pouliot

Slater Koekkoek