Sweet Scorer Alexandre Giroux Returns To the Hershey Bears

Allen PopelsCorrespondent IAugust 5, 2009

The Hershey Bears announced Wednesday morning that they have resigned forward Alexandre Giroux to a one-year deal. 

According to Tarik El-Bashir of The Washington Post, it's a two-way contract, meaning he can be recalled to the NHL's Washington Capitals and returned to the AHL without having to pass through waivers.

The 28-year-old Quebec native is coming off of the most prolific goal scoring season in the history of the AHL. He totaled 75 goals over the course of the regular and postseason, setting both franchise and league records.

Giroux also broke Brett Hull's record for goals in consecutive games at the AHL level. Back on January 18, he recorded a goal in his 15th consecutive contest to break the 22-year-old record.

Despite all of these accomplishments, it's surprising that Giroux was unable to secure a one-way deal with an NHL team. No matter what teams think about the guy, you can't argue with results. Anybody that manages to score 75 goals at the AHL level should be given a legitimate opportunity to prove himself in the NHL.

Last month I caught up with Bob Woods, Giroux's former head coach and current assistant coach with the Capitals in Washington. He had this to say about the subject:

"I think somebody's got to give him a look. 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."

"We like him a lot," added Bruce Boudreau when asked at the Capitals' development camp last month. "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."

Basically, Giroux returns to the organization under the same terms that he played last season. Unless he wows people during training camp, he will most likely start the season with the Bears.

John Walton, the voice of the Hershey Bears, posted this about the signing on his Blog:

With his signing and the players that are already under contract, the Hershey Bears appear very ready to defend its title and try for 11 Calder Cup championships. Giroux and Keith Aucoin (pictured here) together up front, with most of the core from last year’s club joining them. A team that looks to be deeper in goal than it was last season. No reason to think this team won’t be in the hunt again next spring. It is a most exciting day here in central Pennsylvania as the Bears again look to reload, not rebuild.

Give credit to Doug Yingst again for keeping this team at the very top of the AHL in terms of personnel. George McPhee deserves credit too, for the wisdom of keeping Washington prospects in a winning environment to excel at the next level.

I can’t wait to hear the ovation that Giroux gets on opening night. Here’s the official press release.

To be able to have such a prolific goal scorer in your system, the deal is great when you look at it from the organization's point-of-view. But on the other hand, it just doesn't seem right that Giroux was unable to secure a full-time contract with one of the 30 teams in the NHL.

You just have to root for guys like this. Hopefully he gets his chance this year in Washington and sticks.

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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