Zemgus Girgensons had little leverage in contract negotiations after posting seven goals and 18 points in 71 games last season, so he made a smart decision: He signed a one-year deal with a bump in salary and bet on himself. The Sabres also made the right play.
Girgensons will earn $1.15 million, or $275,875 more than he turned down with the Sabres’ qualifying offer. His new deal outlines how contracts should work. In a perfect world, professional athletes would be paid based on past production with short-term deals used as incentives for future raises.
His new contract is more than fair considering he had career lows in production. Two years ago under Ted Nolan, when the forward had 15 goals and 40 points, he had the second-most ice time among Buffalo forwards. Last year under Dan Bylsma, he played about four minutes less per game and was seventh among Sabres forwards in ice time.
Girgensons is a first-line player on a bad team, a third-line player on a good team and a fourth-line guy on a Stanley Cup contender. Until he proves otherwise, that’s how he should be paid.