A legitimate opportunity to secure a full-time position on an NHL team's roster. That is what Alexandre Giroux should receive after putting up 75 goals in the American Hockey League last season.
The reality is we are roughly three weeks into free agency, and he still has not found a job for the upcoming year.
Giroux, 28, recorded one of the greatest seasons in the history of the AHL with the Hershey Bears during the '08-'09 season.
He recorded 60 goals and 97 points in 69 games during the regular season, then followed that up by tallying 15 goals and 28 points in 22 postseason games while leading the Bears to the Calder Cup championship.
The French Canadian also put himself into the record book on January 18th by scoring in his 15th consecutive game, breaking Brett Hull's 22 year-old AHL record.
Giroux is no one year wonder either. He's put up five straight 30-plus goal scoring season at the AHL level. However, he has only had the opportunity to play in 22 NHL games since turning pro back in 2001 with the Binghamton Senators.
The knock on him has always been his skating ability, but at 6-foot 3-inches and almost 200 pounds, Giroux has learned to complement his weakness with his strong positioning skills in the offensive zone in addition to his knack for putting the puck into the net.
"I think somebody's got to give him a look," said Bob Woods, Giroux's head coach last season in Hershey. "You score 75 goals in that league, especially at this age; you're doing a lot of good things. You have to look at the situation. Washington has to look and see what their depth is and whether a guy like him would fit or not. That's up to George (McPhee) and those guys. He's a talented player and when he has the puck on his stick he usually knows what to do with it. That's just a natural thing you can't teach."
Giroux got into 12 games last season with the Capitals, and while he only scored one goal, it ended up being an important one. He tallied the game-winner during the team's 3-1 win on December 10th against the eventual conference champion Boston Bruins.
"We like him a lot," said Bruce Boudreau when asked at the Capitals development camp last week. "The balls in his court though. He played for us last year and he did quite well. He had that monster year and I've seen stranger things happen to older guys. So, it wouldn't be surprising for me if he makes it in the NHL whether it's with us or with somebody else.
"It would fit if he beat out one of our guys. More power to him. We want the best team we can get."
Alexandre Giroux has proven to be one of the most productive players not in the NHL over the last couple seasons. However, he has received barely a cup of coffee so far at the top level.
His performance has dictated that some team in the NHL needs to give him a true shot at becoming a full-time player in the best league in the world.
A one-year, one-way contract that allows him the chance to adjust his game at the highest level and see if he can translate his incredible scoring ability to the NHL.
For more on the Washington Capitals, Hershey Bears, and the NHL follow Allen Pope on Twitter at http://twitter.com/allenpope
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