According to Ted Ryan of the Burlington Free Press, Buffalo Sabres prospect Zemgus Girgensons — taken 14th overall at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft — will bypass enrolling at the University of Vermont to begin his professional career.
Girgensons will reportedly sign an entry level deal with the Sabres, at which point he’ll be eligible to join the NHL club or their AHL affiliate in Rochester.
“We have stated often that if we are going to lose Zemgus, we hope it’s to the NHL team that selects him in the draft,” said UVM head coach Kevin Sneddon. “Buffalo feels confident that Zemgus can play for them this year as well as with the Rochester Americans of the AHL.
“We support Zemgus and wish him the best of luck as he begins his professional career with Buffalo.”
Girgensons, 18, recently participated in the Sabres’ prospect development camp and played well, occasionally skating on a line with fellow 2012 draftee Mikhail Grigorenko and Buffalo’s first-round pick from 2011, Joel Armia.
During camp, Grigorenko told the Buffalo News his goal for the upcoming season was to make the NHL. Girgensons was less definitive, but did seem to relish the idea of skating alongside his fellow first-rounder — something that might’ve played a part in his decision to go pro.
“We clicked together pretty good, I think, so we’ll see how it goes this week,” Girgensons said. “It’s not a problem for me to transfer to the wing.”
While a nice get for the Sabres, Girgensons ‘ signing a tough blow for Vermont. He was part of what looked to be a stellar incoming freshman class and was set to be the highest-drafted Catamounts player in NHL history.
Former UVM player John LeClair was taken by Montreal in the second round — 33rd overall — in 1987 and current Catamount Connor Brickely was selected 50th overall by Florida in 2010.
Related: Will Buffalo’s two first-round picks be in the NHL next season?