He may be hard to send down since he's a high motor guy whose effort will stand out at camp, but the smart thing to do would be send him to Rochester. He impressed late in the year, but he missed a bit of time to injury and he's an incredibly young guy who is adjusting to a new league. I'd like to see if he can keep up the strong play for longer than a late run and a short playoff series. We'd be better off to give him some time to progress offensively. I don't see any reason to rush him.
Girgensons has the highest ceiling (Rod Brind'Amour territory) compared to De la Rose (think Rob Niedermayer), and is the best player at the moment. If this poll isn't at least 50 Girgensons votes for 1 De la Rose vote, then it's a flawed poll.
Do Buffalo fans feel Zemgus could challenge for a spot in top-9?
This year? I suppose it's possible, though I think that Sabres brass feels Larsson is a better fit for the top 9 this year and would rather ZG start in Rochester, get top-line minutes and try to start to realize some of his offensive potential.
I think the most realistic scenario for Girgensons is:
Starts in Rochester, probably gets a few games here and there due to injuries and may be a full-timer after the deadline depending on who the Sabres sell off.
Had a chance to interview Girgs during the prospect camp, seems like a great kid who has his head on straight. Only professional interview I've ever done where the other person shook my hand afterward.
Anyway, he's going to be a fan favorite in Buffalo for a while. He has that in-your-face, balls-to-the-wall game that will remind fans here of Mike Peca. He's that Mike Richards/Dustin Brown/Ryan Callahan type of defensive forward who will put up offensive numbers based on hustle.
For example: There was one play that stood out most from the prospect scrimmage. On a soft dump that went behind the net, Girgensons forechecked the goalie hard behind the net — so hard that after hitting boards trying to sneak behind the goalie, he fell to the ice. But the ruckus he caused made the goalie cough up the puck, leading to a goal.
Those plays translate at any level, especially when you're 6-foot-3 and built like a tank.