The Edmonton Oilers announced Saturday that they have signed perennial AHL star Alexandre Giroux to a one-year contract worth a reported $500,000.
Giroux, who stands 6’3” and weighs in at 205 pounds, was originally taken in the seventh round of the 1999 NHL Entry Draft (213th overall). He has spent most of his professional hockey career in the American Hockey League where he has amassed over 300 goals in 636 career AHL games played.
Giroux has spent the past three seasons with the Hershey Bears of the AHL, where he has posted back-to-back 50-goal seasons, including a career best 60-goal performance in 2008-09.
Clearly, Giroux has the talent to play at the AHL level, but he has never been able to transfer his AHL skills to the NHL, where he has amassed a paltry four goals and nine points in 34 career NHL games played with the New York Rangers (2005-06) and the Washington Capitals (2006-07, 2008-10).
At age 29, one has to think that Giroux’s latest contract with the Oilers may be the final one of his career unless he can prove that he can play at the NHL level.
Coming off back-to-back AHL Championships with the Hershey Bears, Giroux will bring a winning attitude to the Oilers, a club that has struggled to find its way at the NHL level.
He also took home the Les Cunningham Award as the AHL’s MVP.
The Oilers represent a solid opportunity for Giroux. This is a young club in step one of a rebuilding process that should take another two to three seasons. Giroux has the opportunity to get second-line minutes in Edmonton as long as he lives up to his enormous potential.
In order for Giroux to crack one of the Oilers' first three lines, he will have to outplay the likes of Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, and Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson. All will be vying for an NHL job in training camp.
The knock on Giroux is his skating which is not up to par at the NHL level. While his decision making is dominant in the AHL, it becomes questionable once the game accelerates to the NHL level.
Dominating the AHL, where few players are capable of playing in the NHL, is one thing; competing in the NHL is quite another.
It’s just that simple.
Only time will tell if Giroux can be a consistent contributor for the Oilers. The Oilers need him to step up.
Nobody wants it more than Giroux.
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Until next time,