If there was any question of the future plans for 2012 top draft eligible prospect Zemgus Girgensons, the 6-foot-1 Latvian did his best to answer them this week.
In an interview with hockey blogger Ryan S. Clark of 'Slightly Chilled', Girgensons of the Dubuque Fighting Saints in the United States Hockey League said he doesn't see himself playing in the Canadian Hockey League.
Girgensons, committed to the University of Vermont for the fall of 2012, was also drafted 45th overall by the Kelowna Rockets during the CHL Import Draft and was taken in the second round of the KHL Junior Draft by CSKA Moscow.
"You know, first of all I don't see my future in the CHL," Girgensons told Clark. "I talked with other CHL teams that were interested in me. I thought about the (Quebec Major Junior Hockey League) and the Quebec Remparts (where fellow blue chip prospect Mikhail Grigorenko stars), but Kelowna drafted me and didn't say anything to me about it. After that, I felt they disrespected me a little bit. They pushed it a little bit onto my adviser and I don't think he really liked it."
Girgensons finished third overall on Dubuque with 49 points, including 21 goals, in 51 games last season and was selected to the mid-season Western Conference All-Stars. Through nine games this season, Girgensons has 6 goals, including 3 game-winners, 13 points and a plus-2 rating.
Adding coal to the fire was a blog that Clark pointed to which specializes in news out of the Western Hockey League. The outlet, 'DubNation', quoted Rockets owner and general manager Bruce Hamilton when asked about Girgensons.
"His agents think (Dubuque) is where he should be playing and he's very loyal to that program but I know as soon as he's drafted, the NHL team is not going to want him in Dubuque and they're not going to want him going to the University of Vermont, either," Hamilton told DubNation. "We'll have a real good opportunity to have him here for sure next year, and potentially after Christmas this year. When the Latvian team plays in the world juniors, we'll be very aggressive again there."
Girgensons represented Latvia at the 2010 World Under-18 Championships, notching two assists in six games.
Dubuque coach Jim Montgomery, a collegiate standout at the University of Maine, responded this way:
"First of all, I was wondering how he could be tampering with a player that plays with another junior team in the middle of the season. I was also wondering about his ethics and why would you want to try and approach someone trying to win a gold medal for his nation," Montgomery told 'Slightly Chilled'. "Being a Canadian, he should know how important it is to win a gold medal. If junior hockey is coming to this type of level where you're going to bother someone while they’re trying to win a gold medal for his country speaks volumes about the integrity of some of the people in junior hockey. I know for a fact that (Girgensons) hasn't spoken to an adviser and (Girgensons' adviser) hasn'’t spoken to the kid either. He's defending his draft pick and that's why he's putting a positive spin on it as possible. Really, he's making himself look like he's unethical."
Girgensons was also perturbed by Hamilton's comments, according to 'Slightly Chilled.'
"I don't think it was a great move by them," Girgensons said. "If they had said 'We support his decision to go to Vermont', that would have been fine but they said I should not go there. They disrespected my thoughts and I felt like they didn't even trust me."
Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale