BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - The Sabres signed forward Zemgus Girgensons, one of their two first-round draft selections, on Friday to a three-year, entry-level contract.
Girgensons chose to sign with the Sabres instead of playing for the University of Vermont. He will likely start the season in the AHL with Rochester.
"I think he's physically ready, he already has a man-body," said Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff. "He's strong enough to handle the heavy bodies down there. He likes to hit, he likes to play a physical game, it looks like he could be ready."
Girgensons was impressive during the Sabres developmental camp and could even perhaps push for an NHL roster spot this fall.
A native of Riga, Latvia, Girgensons is the highest Latvian ever selected in the draft, and spent the last two seasons in the United States Hockey League.
He was alternate captain for Team Latvia at the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championship, where he scored two goals in six games.
The Sabres won 39 games last season, and finished with 89 points. They did not make the postseason.